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It is normal to have some vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge is your body’s way of cleaning and moisturizing your vagina. A healthy vagina will secrete fluids made by glands inside the vagina and cervix to carry away dead cells and bacteria. This small amount of discharge helps the vagina to clean and lubricate itself, similar to your mouth secreting saliva. A healthy vagina remains acidic, which helps suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. It also contains “good bacteria” that keeps the environment acidic and balanced. It is normal for the amount, color and consistency of your discharge to vary throughout the month depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. For example, you may notice an increased amount of discharge when you are ovulating, breastfeeding or sexually aroused. Normal vaginal discharge can be clear, white, cloudy, yellowish or even contain mucous. These can all be normal variations and there is no need to worry if you have no other symptoms. However, if the smell, consistency or color changes significantly it may be signs of an infection or other condition.

Signs that your discharge may be abnormal and you may need to see your doctor are:

  • A foul strong “fishy” odor
  • Change in color to green, gray, pus-like discharge
  • Vaginal itching, burning, swelling or redness
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting after intercourse

There is a lot of confusing information out there right now. For instance, what are the current guidelines for Pap smears and mammograms? Why does my doctor have an HPV test run with my pap if I am over 30 years old? What is HPV anyway, and why would I be checked for an STD when I haven’t had a new partner in years? How do you keep up with what is current, and what is really the ‘right’ thing to do, especially if it seems to keep changing? Your physician is the best person to discuss not only what the best and most current recommendations are, but how these apply to YOU personally.

What you may not know is that an annual “Well Woman” exam is recommended yearly, whether a Pap smear is performed or not. This exam gives us the opportunity to provide much more than simply a ‘Pap smear’ (which is only a small part of the exam that screens for cervical pre-cancer or cancer).  An annual pelvic exam is recommended to evaluate the entire female reproductive tract and surrounding areas. The majority of this exam goes far beyond the Pap smear.

Many of our patients are concerned with finding out what is an appropriate amount of weight gain during pregnancy. Did you know that “eating right for two” depends not just on the types of foods you are eating, but on how much weight you gain?

Read on to find out what you need to know about changing your normal eating habits and how many extra calories you should be consuming.

Different guidelines for weight gain depend on pre-pregnancy weight. Underweight patients will need to eat more than patients who are overweight to begin with. You can easily determine what your weight expectations are for your height by using an online body mass index (BMI) calculator. Simply plug in your height and pre-pregnancy weight. (If you are athletic and particularly muscular, these calculators may not be as accurate.) For overweight or obese patients, weight loss prior to pregnancy can help to reduce risks of problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure in pregnancy and their associated complications.