Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA
how to prepare for a mammogram

How to Prepare and What to Expect During a Mammogram Procedure

How often do we take a moment to truly understand the steps we take for our health? Mammograms might sound like a routine procedure for many, especially for women over 40.

But there’s more to it than just showing up at the clinic. This article will shed light on the essential preparations one should consider. From understanding what a mammogram is to the nitty-gritty of getting ready for it, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re wondering how to prepare for a mammogram, stick around. There’s a wealth of information coming your way.

What’s the Big Deal with Mammograms?

We all hear about them, but do we truly grasp their significance? Mammograms are more than just another medical test. They’re a proactive step in our health journey, a silent guardian watching over us.

What is a mammogram?

At its core, a mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It’s a specialized technique designed to spot any unusual changes or abnormalities. These changes might be benign, or they could be early signs of breast cancer.

But why wait for symptoms? A mammogram can detect these changes even before they manifest physically.

Now, you might wonder, with all the medical tests out there, why is this one so crucial? The answer lies in its preventive nature. While most tests diagnose existing conditions, a mammogram can potentially prevent a life-threatening situation.

The Real Purpose Behind the Screens

Breast cancer screening isn’t about inducing fear, it’s about empowerment. By getting a mammogram, you’re taking an active role in your health, ensuring early detection if something’s amiss.

Remember, the earlier any issues are found, the better the outcome will be, both physically and mentally. Knowing you’re in the clear provides mental peace, a reassurance that’s invaluable.

Statistics show that regular mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. It’s a small step, but its impact is monumental.

Types of Mammograms: Not All Screens Are the Same

The world of mammograms isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are different types, each with its own purpose and technique.

The Common Types

There are primarily two types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.

Screening mammograms are routine checks. They’re especially recommended if you’ve no symptoms. It’s like a regular check-up, but specifically for your breasts. These mammograms play a crucial role in early detection, even before any physical signs appear.

On the other hand, diagnostic mammograms delve deeper. They’re used when there’s a noticeable lump, pain, or other symptoms. Think of them as a detailed investigation, zooming in on specific areas of concern.

But why have different types?

Well, our bodies are unique. What works for one might not work for another. By having varied mammogram types, we ensure that everyone gets the care they need, tailored to their specific situation.

Prepping for the Big Day: How to Prepare for a Mammogram

The day is approaching, and it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions. But with the right preparation, the process can be smoother.

Before the Appointment

Avoid using deodorants, perfumes, or powders on the day of your mammogram. These products can interfere with the results. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

Also, if possible, try to schedule your mammogram for a time when your breasts aren’t tender or swollen. This can make the experience more comfortable for you.

On the Day of the Screening

Wear a two-piece outfit. It makes it easier to undress from the waist up. And trust us, it’s all about comfort during the process.

Leave your jewelry at home, especially necklaces. They can get in the way of the X-ray machine. Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about.

Remember, the key is to be as relaxed as possible. The more at ease you are, the smoother the process will be.

The Process: Getting a Mammogram

It’s one thing to prepare for a mammogram, but understanding the process can truly put your mind at ease. Let’s break it down.

Step by Step

When you arrive at the clinic, you’ll typically start with paperwork. It’s essential to provide accurate medical history, as it helps the technicians and doctors understand your unique needs.

Next, you’ll be led to a private area to undress from the waist up. You’ll be given a wrap or gown to wear.

Once you’re ready, the mammogram itself begins. You’ll stand in front of the mammogram machine, and a technician will place your breast on a clear plate. Another plate will press down on your breast from above. It might feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s crucial for getting clear images.

The machine takes X-ray images from multiple angles. This ensures a comprehensive view of the breast tissue. The entire process usually takes about 20 minutes.

What to Expect

It’s natural to feel a bit of discomfort or even slight pain. But remember, it’s brief. The pressure from the plates ensures clarity in the images.

After the mammogram, you might notice a bit of redness or slight tenderness. It’s normal and should fade quickly. If you’re concerned, always reach out to the clinic or your doctor.

The results aren’t immediate. A radiologist will review the images, and you’ll typically receive the results within a week or two. If there’s a need for further tests, the clinic will guide you through the next steps.

Now You Know How To Prepare For a Mammogram

There are moments in life that define our commitment to ourselves. Getting a mammogram, understanding its nuances, and knowing how to prepare for a mammogram are more than just steps in a medical procedure.

They’re affirmations of our dedication to our well-being.

So, the next time that appointment rolls around, or if you’re guiding someone else through it, remember the importance of preparation. It’s not just about the physical act but the mindset we bring to it.

Here’s to taking charge, being informed, and embracing the path to better health. If you’re in Augusta and are looking for someone to talk to about anything to do with obstetrics and gynecology, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

specialists in women's care

5 Tips for Choosing Specialists in Women’s Care

As a woman, you probably have a long list of priorities to take care of each day. But are you on the list?

Your health should be a priority, but finding the right women’s care specialist isn’t always easy. Your gynecologist should be someone you can communicate with and trust.

Whether you need your first gynecological appointment, hormone replacement therapy, menopause care, or just an annual checkup, you need a doctor who will listen and take good care of you.

If you’re looking for specialists in women’s care, we can help!

Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the right women’s care specialist for you.

Consider Your Current Health

Finding a doctor who specializes in women’s health should be a priority. This is especially true if you’ve been diagnosed with a condition like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or another women’s health issue.

You want the best care, so finding a doctor who has treated many women with similar issues is a plus. A gynecologist has experience dealing with a wide variety of women’s health issues.

They can help you stay on track with regular pap and mammogram screenings and monitor your health with regular checkups.

Ask Friends and Family

One of the best ways to find a caring doctor is to ask people you trust for recommendations. This is a good way to find a gynecologist who is well-liked in the community.

Your friends and family want the best for you, so they will tell you which doctors they recommend and who to avoid. Do your own research before making an appointment. Getting a recommendation is a good place to start.

Read Online Reviews

You shouldn’t make an appointment with a doctor until you’ve done a little investigating, including reading online reviews. One of the best sources of information about any doctor is their previous patients.

A women’s health doctor deals with sensitive health issues. It’s very important to have a reputable gynecologist you can discuss these personal matters with.

Patients who have had very good or very bad experiences with a physician are more likely to leave a review. Choose a doctor who has a track record of making patients feel comfortable and providing top-notch care.

Although one bad review is not necessarily a concern, a string of negative reviews is a definite red flag. If you notice this, continue your search for another doctor.

Factor in Future Pregnancies

Are you currently pregnant or do you and your partner plan to have a baby in the future? If so, be sure to choose an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) rather than just a gynecologist.

This way you can have consistent care when you’re pregnant and when you’re not. An OB-GYN can guide you through the stages of pregnancy and birth.

They can also monitor your health after you’ve given birth to ensure a healthy transition to motherhood.

Check Their Qualifications

Your personal health is so valuable, and you want to be in the best possible hands. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have a doctor who is board certified.

This ensures they have gone through rigorous training and have passed exams to be a specialist in their field of practice. Some doctors, such as fertility specialists, must be double-certified.

Check out their medical practice website, and don’t hesitate to ask about their credentials and experience as well.

Verify Your Insurance

Healthcare of any kind is expensive. Before you show up for an appointment, make sure the doctor accepts your insurance or that they’re in your network.

If you’re not sure, contact your insurance carrier. You can also talk to the insurance specialist at the doctor’s office to go over the doctor’s services and what your insurance plan covers.

Think About the Location

Location is an important consideration when you’re choosing a doctor. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t need to drive a long distance or disrupt your life to see your doctor or get your mammogram screening.

Consider how long it will take to travel to your appointments. If you’re pregnant or plan to be pregnant, this is a major concern.

If there’s an excellent women’s care specialist in your local area, that’s the best place to begin your search.

Schedule a Consultation

Scheduling a consultation with a doctor is a great way to get to know them and determine if they’re a good choice for you. Consider how the staff treated you and whether you felt welcomed and cared for when you came through the door.

When you meet with the doctor, this is the time to discuss your health history and ask questions. A women’s health specialist should be willing to listen to you and answer any questions you may have.

It’s important to have a gynecologist you can talk to about all aspects of your health. From pregnancy to menopause symptoms like hot flashes, you should feel free to talk to your doctor.

If you don’t establish a rapport with the doctor, it’s okay to keep looking and find someone you feel more comfortable with.

Find the Best Specialists in Women’s Care

As a woman, making your health a priority is so important. Every woman should have a doctor they trust and feel comfortable with.

If you’re looking for specialists in women’s care, be sure to do your homework, including asking for recommendations, checking credentials, verifying your insurance, and scheduling a consultation.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, we’ve been providing excellent women’s healthcare services for over 40 years. We’re here to provide for all of your gynecological and obstetrical needs.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

does a pap smear hurt

Does a Pap Smear Hurt? What to Expect During Your Pap Smear Test

Have you undergone a pap smear within the past three years? If not, it’s past time for one.

Research shows that over 12,000 women end up getting cervical cancer each year. However, with pap smears, more than 90% of this type of cancer is preventable.

If you’re due for your first cervical smear, you may be wondering, “Does a pap smear hurt?” Let’s explore what to expect during your pap smear test.

What Is a Pap Smear?

This screening test helps determine if cancerous or precancerous cells are present on a woman’s cervix or the uterus’s opening.

During this routine procedure, a doctor gently scrapes away cells from the cervix and examines them for any abnormal growth.

Who Should Get a Pap Test?

Women should begin getting pap smears at 25 years of age. It is recommended they undergo these tests every 3-5 years.

Your doctor may recommend you get a cervical smear more frequently if you are HIV-positive. Women might also need to undergo more frequent testing if their immune systems are weak due to undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.

If you are 65 years old and have never had an abnormal smear result, you might not need to undergo more pap smears.

Preparing for a Pap Test

Your pap smear may be scheduled as part of your yearly gynecological examination. Alternatively, you may schedule a separate pap smear appointment. Most health insurance plans cover pap smears, but you might be responsible for a co-pay fee.

If you are menstruating on your cervical smear day, your gynecologist might ask you to reschedule your test. Otherwise, your test results may not be as accurate.

Also, it’s best not to have sex, douche, or use a spermicidal product 24 hours before your smear. These actions might also interfere with the pap smear results.

Have you just had a baby? Wait at least 12 weeks to undergo a cervical smear. Getting a smear too soon after you’ve given birth may also lead to inaccurate results.

What Happens During a Cervical Smear?

During this type of test, your doctor will ask you to lie down on a patient table. You can rest on your back or your left or right side. Then, bend your knees up.

Your doctor will cover your lower area with a clean sheet. They will also ask you to place your feet in special supports known as stirrups.

They will then open your vagina using a tool called a speculum. Afterward, they will take a cell sample from your cervix’s surface using a tiny brush or small broom.

The cervical smear will take a couple of minutes. Your doctor will then send your sample to a lab for examination.

Does a Pap Smear Hurt?

Pap smears generally don’t hurt. You might feel a gentle push and some irritation when your gynecologist is scraping your cervix. However, you shouldn’t experience anything more than mild discomfort.

Still nervous about undergoing the procedure? If you feel nervous or embarrassed, tell your gynecologist how you’re feeling. They may encourage you to bring a support individual with you to your pap smear appointment.

Also, if you’re pregnant, keep in mind that a cervical test might be more uncomfortable the farther along you are in your pregnancy. This is why you should try to undergo the test before you are 25 weeks pregnant.

Keep in mind that the more relaxed you are during your cervical smear, the more smoothly your procedure will go. Taking deep breaths may help you feel relaxed and stay calm during the test.

Following the procedure, any discomfort the scraping has caused you should subside relatively quickly. You may also experience light bleeding from your vagina, but this should also stop. Tell your gynecologist if you’re still experiencing bleeding or discomfort on the day following the test.

Normal vs. Abnormal Pap Smear

If your pap smear result is normal, this means the lab didn’t identify any abnormal cells. Your doctor may also describe your normal results as negative results.

If your result is abnormal, this does not mean you have gotten cancer. Instead, it means your cervix has abnormal cells. Some of these cells might be precancerous.

There are multiple abnormal cell levels. The mildest is atypia. The most severe is carcinoma or cancer. Fortunately, women with abnormal cell results usually have milder cells versus severe abnormalities.

If you have an abnormal smear, your gynecologist may have you repeat your cervical smear within a few months.

Your doctor might also want to examine your cervix’s tissue more closely through a procedure known as colposcopy. During this type of exam, your gynecologist will use magnification and light to see your cervical and vaginal tissues more clearly.

Your gynecologist might also get a cervical tissue sample — a procedure known as a biopsy — for further examination.

The information they gain through these extra steps will help them determine the next steps for you.

How We Can Help With Pap Smears

Are you wondering, “Does a pap smear hurt?” This type of cervical test can be a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t cause you pain long-term. Undergoing this type of test every 3-5 years can decrease your chance of developing cervical cancer as you age.

At Women’s Health of August, we offer high-quality gynecological services, including pap smears. We’re committed to providing you with individualized attention and grade-A patient service.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our services, and schedule a visit today!


The Benefits of Regular Obstetrics and Gynecology Check-Ups

According to data, cancer is still the second-leading cause of death affecting women aged 40 to 79. Experts expect up to 2 million new cancer diagnoses in 2023 alone.

Going for a well-woman check-up is extremely important the older you get. Having a regular screening means you can detect if anything is developing early enough to treat it.

For many, this detection could mean the difference between life and death. Finding a gynecologic oncologist you’re comfortable with and can build a medical relationship with is essential.

Keep reading if you need more convincing that regular obstetrics and gynecology check-ups are necessary. We’re giving you a list of benefits you can gain.

1. Build a Medical Relationship

When listing the benefits of regular obstetrics and gynecology check-ups, one of the first that comes to mind is building a medical relationship with your gynecologic oncologist. When you regularly see the same doctor, you can get to know one another over time, and they can become familiar with you and your medical history.

Having a good relationship with your doctor means you can feel comfortable asking questions you may otherwise have been shy to ask. It’s essential to remember that asking questions is a critical element in your health, so never feel you can’t ask any.

2. Get Essential Screenings

Another benefit of regular obstetrics and gynecology appointments is you get important health screenings. The tests you can access will depend on your genetics, medical history, age, etc. However, knowing beforehand which screenings you need is proactive.

There are several vital screenings women should get at various stages of life. They can include:

  • A breast examination
  • Pelvic examination
  • Pap smear
  • Urine Sample
  • HPV testing
  • Mammogram

Some may only be accessible after you pass a particular age mark. For example, mammograms are typically only offered to women over 40 unless the doctor feels it’s necessary earlier.

3. Get an Overall View of Your Health

Like any other doctor, regularly visiting your gynecologic oncologist can help give you a baseline of your overall health. Your doctor will do this over time, where you will undergo screenings and other check-ups like a gynecological exam.

Over time, your gynecology doctor will be able to get an overall picture of your health. This helps them catch any medical problems early, which may mean they can treat them successfully. If you only visit your gynecology doctor once every ten years, you may only detect disease by the time it’s beyond treatment.

4. Detect and Manage Menopause

Another reason to visit your gynecology doctor regularly is to track and manage your period. For example, a visit to the gynecology office is needed if your period is too heavy or irregular.

With advanced gynecology, your doctor can detect changes in your body that may affect your period—for example, the onset of menopause. Menopause can be highly uncomfortable for women, so a check-up can be a way to seek treatment.

5. Get Factual Nutritional Info

When pregnant, visiting your obstetrics practitioner is essential to get the correct information about infant nutrition. Becoming a mother can be overwhelming, so having help can make a significant difference in your parenting experience.

By visiting your obstetrics doctor, you can ask as many questions as you need about feeding your baby once they’re born. They can advise you about what’s best for feeding your infant. If you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, your doctor can advise you on the formula you can use and how to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow.

Pro Tip: Remember, “fed is best” for infants, so there is no need to feel judged if you’re not breastfeeding

6. Stay Updated With Vaccinations

Another benefit of regular well-women visits is staying updated with vaccinations. If you’re not pregnant, you can get several vaccines, and your doctor will have access to them. For example, they will be able to administer the following vaccines, so long as you’re not pregnant:

Staying up-to-date with your vaccinations means staying protected from illnesses and diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. If you need help determining your vaccinations, your medical provider can advise you based on your history.

7. Track Baby Development

When you’re pregnant, another benefit of going to the obstetrics doctor is the ability to track your baby’s development. Your medical provider will have access to machines that can adequately scan your uterus to ensure the fetus is healthy.

Fetal development changes happen so rapidly that scheduling a regular visit with your obstetrics doctor helps you stay updated on their growth progress. You can also detect problems inside the womb by being regularly scanned and checked.

8. Develop A Pregnancy Plan

As you progress in your pregnancy, you must research more information than before. You want to ensure you have time to create a personalized plan that works for you and your doctor.

Having nothing planned by the time the baby arrives can result in a birth where you feel out of control. This can add unnecessary stress to the mother during an already challenging time.

Your obstetrics doctor can advise which prenatal classes to take, such as a Lamaze class focusing on breathing and pain management. Knowing techniques that can help ease the discomfort of childbirth is worthwhile learning before the time arrives.

Stop Skipping Your Gynecology and Obstetrics Visits

Taking care of yourself while you’re pregnant or as you age is essential if you want a healthy baby and a healthy you. Regularly visiting the gynecology doctor is recommended because you can receive crucial screenings, track and manage your period and menopause symptoms, stay up to date with the latest vaccines, and build a solid medical relationship with your provider. By visiting your obstetrics doctor, you can track your baby’s development, get nutritional advice, and create a personalized pregnancy plan.

If you’ve been putting off your visit, why not book an appointment with us today? We offer top-quality services from pregnancy and prenatal care to menopause care.


Obstetrics: An Overview of Popular Prenatal Tests

The word “test” is enough to inspire anxiety in a lot of our patients. After all, they’ve spent their whole lives learning that a test is something you can fail! When the test in question involves the health of your new baby, the prospect can seem even more nerve-wracking.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, our obstetrics team ensures that every expectant parent understands what to expect, from their first prenatal visit to their sweet baby’s delivery day. If you’re nervous about your prenatal care, the right team can make all the difference.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to the common and optional prenatal tests you’ll experience during your pregnancy journey. We’ve found that transparency can make the process more comfortable for everyone involved.

In other words, consider this your “study guide” for your upcoming tests, and you’re sure to “pass” with flying colors! Read on to learn all there is to know about routine and genetic testing.

Common Prenatal Tests

Your obstetrician wants to ensure that you and your baby are as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Proper care and observation will involve a lot of new and unfamiliar diagnostic tests and tools. Below, we’ll describe the exams and procedures that most doctors require during a healthy pregnancy.

Routine Blood Tests

During your first trimester of pregnancy, your doctor will take a blood sample. They will look for specific diseases and illnesses that can impact your pregnancy. These can include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Certain STIs

If your bloodwork shows you have any of the above conditions, your doctor can help make referrals and get you treatment. They will have the necessary information to accommodate these conditions during your care.

Your doctor will also take a blood sample to determine your Complete Blood Count or CBC. They will be looking at the number of types of cells in your blood, which can help them spot conditions like anemia.

During initial blood testing, your doctor will be able to tell you your blood type.

Your team will also check to see if your blood contains the Rh factor. This information can ensure your body does not create antibodies that can harm your baby. If you are Rh negative, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent this.

Urinalysis and Urine Culture

Your doctor will most likely request a urine sample during your first prenatal appointment. This test will look for signs of infection or sugar in the urine. This sample will serve as a baseline as your pregnancy progresses.

If your doctor finds signs of a UTI, you will receive antibiotics. This medication will not harm your baby.

Glucose Screening

During your second trimester, your doctor will order a Glucose Screening test to look for signs of gestational diabetes. During the test, a technician will give you a sweet drink. They will then test your blood to see your body’s insulin response in action.

Depending on the results, your doctor might order a second glucose test. If the test shows you have gestational diabetes, you will receive medication and dietary counseling.


A sonogram (or ultrasound) is a painless, noninvasive imaging test used to monitor your baby in utero. You will likely have a minimum of two ultrasounds during your pregnancy.

The first sonogram will be during the first trimester. This test will help identify your due date.

The second sonogram will occur during the 18th through 22nd week of pregnancy. Most doctors call this the anatomy scan. This is an exciting test for many new parents, as they may learn the biological sex of their new baby.

Some doctors schedule more frequent ultrasound tests, especially for high-risk mothers. Ask your doctor about how many sonograms you can expect to receive during your pregnancy.

Group B Streptococcus Screening

During the third trimester, your doctor will take a GBS culture to look for bacteria known as Group B Streptococcus. If present in the vaginal or rectal area, it can pass to your baby during delivery. Your doctor will take a swab of the site and send it to the lab for analysis.

If your doctor finds GBS present in your sample, you will receive IV antibiotics during labor.

Optional Prenatal Tests

Many prenatal tests are optional but can help new parents find peace of mind. You will usually complete a survey to identify your risk factors during your first trimester. Your doctor might use that information to recommend certain optional genetic screening tests.


During this test, a doctor will use a thin needle to withdraw some amniotic fluid from within your uterus. Your doctor will send this fluid to the lab for analysis. It can help you find certain birth defects such as Down’s syndrome and muscular dystrophy.

Chorionic Villus Sampling

During CVS testing, a doctor will take a small tissue sample from your placenta. It can provide much of the same information as amniocentesis, though the odds of complications are higher. You might choose this test if you need to confirm genetic information as early in your pregnancy as possible.

Start Your Journey at Augusta’s Choice for Obstetrics

Working with a trustworthy obstetrics team is the key to feeling secure and supported on your prenatal journey.

Women’s Health of Augusta employs the most compassionate and knowledgeable professionals to ensure you’ll always know what’s coming next. They will guide you through your prenatal care and testing and help provide the thoughtful information you need to make the best choices for your baby.

We’d love to welcome you and your baby to the Women’s Health of Augusta family. Contact us today so we can answer any questions you have about the above prenatal tests. We’ll help set up an appointment so you can begin building a relationship with a caring, trustworthy obstetrician.

selecting a gynecologist,

7 Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Selecting a Gynecologist

Choosing your gynecologist can feel like an overwhelming decision. There are over 12,500 gynecologists across the United States, meaning there are almost certainly a few qualified doctors available near you.

However, not all gynecologists are equal. Some have different experiences, qualifications, standards, and specialties. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Fortunately, we can help with that. Let’s talk about some common mistakes to avoid when selecting a gynecologist.

1. Not Asking For Recommendations

This might not come across as an obvious mistake, avoiding asking for personal recommendations means you’re missing out on a major resource!  Take the time to talk to your peers and family members about who they do or do not recommend. You should also consider asking your trusted physician who they would refer you to. A recommendation or referral from someone you trust will offer peace of mind while making your important decision

2. Neglecting to Vet Online

Take a moment to check the doctor’s online reputation to see what previous patients have to say. This can offer valuable insights into their bedside manner, communication, expertise, and more.

A doctor may be able to control reviews on their website, but they can’t always manage reviews on Google, Yelp, or other online directories. While you shouldn’t rely entirely on a doctor’s online reputation, we are fortunate enough to live in a time with ample opportunities for reading patient reviews.

3. Not Verifying Credentials or Experience

While this may sound unnecessary, you may want to consider verifying a doctor’s credentials and experience. If you’re new to an area or if you’re unfamiliar with their office, you may not know the standards they require. At the minimum, they will need an MD or a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and a valid license to practice.

You should also realize that a clinic or physician may not offer the services or specializations you need.

Therefore, you should look for a clinic that offers specific tests, abnormal smears, or any other specific healthcare need you may have.

4. Not Checking the Location

Location, especially if you’re pregnant or believe you will need to make frequent visits to your new gynecologist,  should be a key factor during your search. Find a gynecologist’s office that is relatively close to your home, office, or somewhere you regularly visit.

5. Not Comparing Rates

Comparing gynecologists’ costs is another step you can take. However, don’t let it be the only factor.

The reason this is in the fifth spot and not the first is that the quality and accessibility of care are far more important.

If this is for a one-time visit, or if you don’t have health insurance, comparing costs could save you some money on your medical bill. Without insurance, make sure you call ahead to ask about out-of-pocket expenses.

However, for a high-risk pregnancy or a serious gynecological disorder, insurance is essential. Talk to your insurance agency about out-of-pocket costs and then compare gynecologist costs between

6. Insurance Coverage

Speaking of costs, let’s talk about the good ol’ insurance network. Make sure that your insurance provider covers the gynecologist and the services you need beforehand.

As always, there can be some bureaucratic issues with coverage, depending on the type of facility, network coverage, and services you need. Make sure you know ahead of time that your insurance will cover these needs.

Insurance will certainly cover most routine checkups if the doctor is in the provider’s network. If you need special services, check ahead of time to ensure that you don’t run into any issues. Out-of-pocket costs without insurance coverage can range from $110 to $447 just for a routine checkup, and more for specialized care.

7. Availability

It is important that you contact the office beforehand to verify your prospective doctor’s availability. If you need more immediate care, then you don’t want to have to wait four months for your first consultation.

Prenatal Care

What Are the Benefits of Seeking Early Prenatal Care?

According to the CDC, about 6% of pregnant women don’t receive any prenatal care prior to giving birth. That works out to be almost 250,000 pregnant women in total.

If you’re pregnant at the moment, you should make it your mission to get the prenatal care you need throughout your pregnancy. Most gynecology services will be able to provide you with prenatal care.

So, what is prenatal care? Well, it’s essentially a series of checkups that take place throughout your pregnancy to see how both you and your baby are doing. This form of women’s health care is very important for both women’s health and the health of their babies.

There are a whole host of benefits that you’ll get to enjoy when you secure the prenatal care services you need during pregnancy. Check out a few of the biggest benefits of prenatal care below so that you’re able to get a better understanding of why you should take advantage of it.

Allows You to Develop a Pregnancy Plan

From the moment you first find out you’re pregnant, it’s going to be important for you to come up with a pregnancy plan. You’ll need to think about things like:

  • Which foods and beverages you’ll need to eliminate from your diet
  • What steps you’ll take to maintain a healthy weight
  • How deep into your pregnancy you’ll continue to work

Creating a pregnancy plan on your own may be very challenging. It’ll be so much easier when you’re getting prenatal care from doctors and nurses you trust. They’ll be able to make the best possible suggestions for you and your baby.

Ensures You’re Taking the Right Prenatal Supplements

There are certain prenatal supplements you’re going to want to take for the sake of your baby’s health. For example, it’ll be important for you to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. It’ll help prevent the most common birth defects.

When you seek prenatal care, you’ll be able to discover more about the other supplements you might want to consider taking during your pregnancy. A team of doctors and nurses can recommend the right prenatal supplements to you and even talk to you about where to find them.

Helps You Take Control of Any Preexisting Health Conditions

If you currently suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other health conditions, it’s going to be extra important for you to receive prenatal care. Doctors and nurses will be able to help you take better control of these conditions so that they don’t affect you or your baby when you’re pregnant.

They’ll also be able to tell you whether or not you can continue to take certain prescription medications that you might be on at this time. There are many different medicines that could prove to be risky when you’re pregnant.

Reduces the Risk of Any Pregnancy Complications

Ideally, you’re going to want your entire pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible. The last thing you want is to be put on bed rest when you’re pregnant or to need to have your baby induced ahead of schedule.

There are some instances in which these kinds of complications can’t be avoided. But you can reduce the risk of any pregnancy complications by getting the proper prenatal care from a facility that specializes in providing women’s health care.

Monitors Your Baby’s Health Throughout Your Pregnancy

The doctors and nurses who provide you with prenatal care will obviously be worried about more than just your health. They’re also going to pay close attention to the health of your baby throughout your pregnancy.

During prenatal care, you’ll often have ultrasounds done so that doctors and nurses can monitor your baby’s health and the growth they experience over time. They’ll also listen to your baby’s heartbeat to make sure it sounds okay.

You’ll be amazed to see how much doctors and nurses are able to learn about your baby’s health from the outside. It’ll provide you with peace of mind and give you a chance to make lifestyle changes if doctors and nurses sense any potential issues that could be going on.

Prepares You for the Physical and Mental Impact of Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be very taxing on both your body and mind. You’re going to have all kinds of aches and pains that you’ll have to deal with on a daily basis. You might also find that your hormones may cause mental health problems during your pregnancy.

The doctors and nurses that extend prenatal care to you will be able to help prepare you for some of the physical and mental effects of pregnancy. They’ll also be able to come up with solutions for any pregnancy problems you might face.

Gives You Easy Access to Postnatal Care

Pre- and post-natal care will both be important for you and your baby. By seeking prenatal care, you’ll also be able to find a place that can give you access to postnatal care once you give birth.

You’ll be able to transition seamlessly from prenatal care to postnatal care when you have the right gynecology service on your side. It’ll increase the chances of you and your baby enjoying a better experience overall both when you’re pregnant and during the first few weeks of your baby’s life.

Contact Us for All Your Prenatal Care Needs

Are you trying to get pregnant right now or did you recently find out that you’re pregnant? Women’s Health of Augusta can set you up with the prenatal care services you need.

We’ve been helping women deliver babies at University Hospital and Trinity Hospital since the 1970s. You can trust us to assist you throughout your pregnancy journey by providing you with all the benefits listed here.

Get in touch with us now to speak with someone about your prenatal care needs. We also offer a wide range of other gynecological services at our facility.


Gynecology Guide: How to Prepare for the Gynecologist

Though gynecologists treat women at any age, it’s recommended that you start visiting from the age of 13 to 15 years. Building a relationship with your doctor can help you feel more comfortable asking health-related questions. Some people still aren’t sure how to prepare for their gynecology appointments, though.

Here are a few tips that can help you feel more comfortable about your upcoming check-up. With this gynecology guide, you can also prepare questions to ask during your appointment.

Read on to learn more!

Consider Why You’re Going

Before your first appointment at a gynecologist’s office, consider why you’re going in the first place. Outlining your needs will help ensure you ask the right questions. You can make the most of your time and the doctor’s during your upcoming appointment.

For example, you might consider asking about:

  • Birth control options
  • Period or hormonal changes/issues
  • Testing for sexually transmitted diseases

One of the reasons people feel anxious about appointments is that they don’t know what to expect. Avoiding the gynecologist could foster even more avoidance in the future.

Routine exams can help your doctor catch potential problems early on. For example, perhaps there are abnormal cells on your cervix. Treatment is easier when these cells are precancerous.

You might have a serious health problem without realizing it, too. For example, heavy bleeding or a polyp in the pelvic area could require treatment. Regular appointments ensure you and the doctor don’t miss anything that might require immediate attention.

Exams also ensure preventative care (particularly for patients ages 26 and younger). For example, your doctor might recommend a vaccine to prevent health problems like vulvar or vaginal warts. Otherwise, these problems might require more extensive exams and treatments in the future.

Once you determine why you’re going, draft a list of questions you want to ask ahead of time.

Feel free to ask questions about what to expect during the appointment, too. For example, you might ask what a pelvic exam entails and why it’s needed. Asking these questions can help you feel more comfortable once you know what to expect.

Know Your History

Before your gynecology appointment, consider talking to a family member about your family’s medical history. Your doctor will ask questions about your family’s medical history to determine if you require preventative care.

Start by asking your mother about her health history and ask if any conditions run in the family. For example, you can ask if your family has a history of blood clots. If blood clots run in your family, your doctor might recommend contraceptive alternatives that contain estrogen.

Consider drafting a list of your own medical history details as well. For example, your doctor will need to know of past surgeries or any medications you’re currently taking.

If you have medical records, bring them with you to the appointment.

Make sure to track your menstrual cycle before your appointment, too. Your doctor will ask about the first day of your last period. You can use a tracking app on your phone to keep track of dates, flow, and other details.

Preparing for Pelvic Exams

The percentage of women who have received a pelvic exam in the past 12 months has decreased over time. A pelvic exam will help your doctor determine if both your ovaries and uterus are healthy. If you’re nervous about pelvic exams, it can help to know what to expect before your appointment.

Let your doctor know ahead of time if you’re nervous. They likely have a few relaxation methods that can help. They’ll know how to make the exam more comfortable for you, too.

For example, deep breathing exercises can help you relax. Deep breathing could also help relax your pelvic muscles, which will make the exam faster and easier.

Usually, a pelvic exam involves an external exam to review the vulva (the labia, clitoris, and opening of the vagina). Your doctor will complete the cervical and vaginal exam using a speculum (a device that’s inserted into the vagina). Then, they’ll complete a bimanual exam of your reproductive organs.

You have control over the exam. Your doctor will only complete an exam if you’re 100% comfortable. If there are parts of the appointment you want to skip, let your doctor know.

They might have an alternate way to examine you.

Remain Open and Honest

During the appointment, remain open and honest with your gynecologist. The information you provide will help them address any concerns you have.

For example, your gynecologist will ask if you’re sexually active. They’ll ask how many sexual partners you have and if any have been diagnosed with an STD.

Let your gynecologist know about any concerns or symptoms you have that might indicate an STD or STI. These can include:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful and/or itchy bumps on the genitals
  • Heavy or otherwise unusual bleeding
  • Discharge with an odd smell
  • Unusual vaginal discharge

Remaining honest with your answers will allow your doctor to gather the information they need to support you. They won’t judge you based on the answers you provide.

Schedule Your Next Appointment

Before leaving your gynecologist’s office, determine when you should schedule your next appointment.

For example, you should schedule a pelvic exam every three years. You might need to visit your gynecologist more often if you have specific concerns. For example, perhaps you’re interested in getting pregnant or want to renew your birth control prescription.

Prepare for Your Next Gynecology Appointment With These Tips

Preparing for your next (or first) gynecology appointment doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, use these tips to remain organized and in control. Preparing ahead of time can help you feel more comfortable before your appointment.

Remember, your doctor is there to support your health. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Ready to schedule your next appointment? We can’t wait to see you!

Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.


7 Signs It May Be Time for a Gynecology Appointment

Nearly two-thirds of surveyed women report feeling some level of anxiety surrounding their gynecology visits. Can you relate? While going to a general practitioner tends not to inspire fear, the gynecologist is a different story.

Your local gynecologist wants to make sure that you’re safe and healthy, so it’s important to never skip a gynecology appointment. But how do you know when it’s time to schedule one?

Let’s talk about it. Read on for a few top signs that you’re due for an appointment with your gynecologist.

1. It’s Been a While Since Your Last Appointment

The first sign that it’s time to visit a gynecologist is simply that it’s been a while since your last visit (or that you’ve never visited a gynecologist in the past at all).

It’s helpful to visit a gynecologist about once per year for a general exam. If you have a reproductive health issue, you may have to make more frequent visits.

If you have a new sexual partner, it’s also a good idea to visit your gynecologist (or at the very least, get an STD screening just to be safe).

Remember that you won’t need a pap every time you go to the gynecologist in most cases, so don’t let that scare you away. Visiting them annually will keep you safe and healthy.

2. You’re Experiencing Menstrual Changes

Menstrual cycles are rarely completely consistent forever. People who menstruate of all ages can experience random changes in their cycles. If something is unusual one month but then goes back to normal the next month, it isn’t a cause for concern.

However, if the changes continue, it may be time for a gynecology appointment.

It’s possible that there’s no problem at all. Your body may just be changing and you’re experiencing the “new normal.” That said, there are also some conditions that can cause changes in your menstrual cycle.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Common changes you may experience include:

  • Longer periods
  • Much shorter periods
  • No period at all
  • A period that seems to be constant spotting
  • An unusually heavy flow

Make sure you note exactly what changed with as much detail as possible so you’re ready to explain the situation to your doctor.

3. You Have Unusual Discharge

It’s important to note that vaginal discharge is completely normal. It also changes throughout your cycle. In most cases, discharge is not a cause for concern.

Discharge can be thin and watery, thick and sticky, or anywhere in between, and still be healthy. It may change due to a new exercise routine, where you are in your cycle, and a variety of other reasons that aren’t anything to worry about.

There are a few signs that your discharge is a problem, however. If it has an unusual color or smell, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong. If it persists, it’s time to make an appointment with your gynecologist.

4. You’re Experiencing Extreme Pain During Your Period

A bit of discomfort during your period is, unfortunately, normal. Cramping and bloating come with the territory. But what if you’re experiencing an unusual amount of pain?

Periods should not be unbearably painful. If your period pain is getting in the way of your life, you should contact a doctor to see if there’s an underlying cause.

Even if there isn’t a serious cause for your period pain, you may be able to start taking medication (like birth control) that can make your periods more tolerable.

5. You’re Experiencing Pain During Sex

Pain during sex is not normal. If you’re suddenly experiencing pain during sex, and it’s consistent and not just a one-off, it’s time to talk to a doctor.

It could be the result of an STD, cysts, tearing, and more. Regardless, it’s best to be checked out by a professional before you cause more damage.

6. You’re Responding Poorly to Your Birth Control

Many people take birth control to prevent pregnancy and make their periods more manageable. Most people tolerate birth control well, but not every form of birth control is right for every patient.

If you find that you’re not responding well to your birth control, it’s time to visit your gynecologist for help. They can help you find a birth control method that works best for you.

Common signs that your birth control may not be right for you include (but are not limited to):

  • Worsening mood swings
  • Hair loss
  • Constant spotting
  • Long periods
  • Pain

Not all forms of birth control are hormonal and not all forms of hormonal birth control will cause problematic side effects for everyone. Finding a good match is essential.

7. You’re Experiencing Itching or Burning

If you’re experiencing itching and burning in your vaginal area, it’s time to make an appointment to visit your gynecologist. These are almost always signs of a problem.

Even if the itching and burning sensations aren’t accompanied by unusual discharge or any other worrisome changes, they could indicate that something is wrong. These are common symptoms of several STDs as well as yeast infections.

Is It Time for Your Next Gynecology Appointment?

With all of these things in mind, is it time to schedule a gynecology appointment? Remember, if it’s been over a year since your last appointment, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

When it comes to your reproductive health, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Schedule your next gynecology appointment today.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, we aim to provide a comfortable environment for all of our patients seeking reproductive healthcare. Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today.


How to Choose the Best Gynecologist for Your Needs

At least 13 percent of women 18 and older are in poor health.

This is why selecting a gynecologist is so important. There are so many gynecologists to choose from that you may be wondering exactly how you can decide which one is right for your needs.

The good news is that there are certain key factors you can look for to decide if a gynecologist is right for you.

Once you understand exactly what you should look for, the choice becomes easier. Here’s a look at the top things you should bear in mind when selecting a doctor who specializes in gynecology.

Your Insurance Coverage

It’s no use selecting a gynecologist that you cannot pay for, unless you don’t mind being out of pocket for everything. However, if you do have insurance coverage, you will want to select a gynecologist that your insurance will cover.

Understanding your insurance coverage and targeting those doctors within your insurance company’s network is critical. If you check the website of your insurance company, you may be able to find out which gynecologists are in their network. This will help you to narrow your search.

Great Reviews

If you have family or friends who regularly use gynecologists, then it is likely that they will have some good recommendations for you. It is always a good idea to ask your family and friends if they know of any gynecologist that they think will be suitable for you.

This way, you will be able to choose from a pool of qualified professionals that can assist you. You can ask your general practitioner as well to recommend someone to you.

If you don’t have the luxury of asking people for their recommendations, then the next best thing is to check out the reviews for a gynecologist.

These days, a lot of medical practitioners are getting reviews on their social media pages as well as their business pages. Search for any gynecologist you are interested in and find their reviews.

Take a close look at the reviews they are getting from their patients. Websites for medical practitioners will often ask people to rate a gynecologist based on certain principles.

For example, they may be rated based on the office environment that they have, the friendliness of the staff, their trustworthiness, and the ease with which you can schedule a gynecological appointment.

Look at Experience

Experience should play a role in your selection of a gynecologist. The doctor that you choose should have been practicing for a reasonable amount of time.

This will make it easy for them to understand the ins and outs of different types of gynecology issues. They should have practiced long enough to know more than what is in a textbook. This type of experience is invaluable, especially in some complicated situations.

At the very least, when selecting a gynecologist, you should know that they have a lot of specialized experience in the problems that you are having.

Examine Qualifications

The qualifications of your gynecologist are also critical. Often, you can find out about the board certification of your gynecologist simply by doing a search and finding their online biography.

You can then find out if a gynecologist specializes in certain areas by checking out their online profile. This is especially important if you have a specific gynecology need, such as heavy menstrual cramps.

The Level of Communication

One of the things you cannot afford to overlook is whether you and your gynecologist can communicate effectively.

You need to make sure that your gynecologist has the same values as you, especially when it comes to more sensitive issues such as birth control and even pregnancy.

You can try to find out what their views are on sensitive issues.

This way you can avoid a situation later on where you feel uncomfortable because of moral standpoints.

Bedside Manner

The bedside manner of the gynecologist that you are selecting is extremely important. The last thing you want to do is to find a doctor who is dismissive of your feelings about any issue that you are facing.

This can cause you to feel as if you can’t confide your feelings and maybe even your symptoms to your gynecologist. You want a doctor who will listen to what you have to say and also respect it.

Your doctor should be someone with whom you can have free communication back and forth. This way you will be able to trust their opinions and adhere to them for the good of your health. The bottom line is that your gynecologist should be someone who you feel very comfortable with.

Another thing you may want to consider is whether you feel comfortable with a male or a female gynecologist. Some women prefer to see a doctor who is female. Depending on your culture or religion, you may be directed toward a female doctor.

Before deciding on the gender of your gynecologist, it is a good idea for you to sit down and think about what you value most. Then you can decide which doctor is right for you regardless of their gender.

Select an Expert In Gynecology

Selecting the best gynecologist is important. It is not something that you should leave to chance or take lightly.

When it comes to your health, everything needs to be properly assessed, and this includes the doctors that you select.

The best gynecologist for your needs is one who is experienced, well-educated, has good bedside manner, and good patient reviews. In short, it should be a person in whom you can have complete confidence.

If you would like to book an appointment, please contact us.