Moms, Don’t Forget About You!

Motherhood is a time of the extremes – extreme joy, extreme responsibility and extreme stress. It is easy to forget to care for ourselves when we are focused on our families. The health and well-being of our children, spouses and parents often takes precedent over our own. But consider the analogy you hear on every plane flight – you need to place and adjust your own oxygen mask to best help others.

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI) recommends that every woman take the time to assess their health concerns and obtain the appropriate screens, through their health providers or clinics. In addition to screening for specific conditions, preventive health encompasses education, and when appropriate, counseling to optimize a mother’s well-being.

Family planning includes birth control to space out and time pregnancies as desired and pre-conceptual counseling to optimize a woman’s health before pregnancy. Infectious disease screening for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV or hepatitis, is important to identify and treat illness early that could otherwise negatively affect the health of a family. Immunizations and boosters are important to assure protection of a mother and her family against communicable diseases.

Screening for chronic illnesses that may run in your family is often overlooked. If your family has a prevalence of diabetes, elevated blood pressure or kidney disease, these could be silently affecting your health if not diagnosed and treated. The same concern exists for untreated depression, anxiety or PTSD. Mothers may have inherited the genes for breast, pelvic, colon and other cancers, placing them and their children at greater risk for these diseases and may need increased screening.

Preventive services should include concerns about violence at home and substance use. Often mothers avoid their healthcare providers because of these issues and need to know that the visits for screening and education are ideal times to discuss these concerns.

Ultimately, every mother needs to know that addressing her own health is not selfish. She is the lynch pin of her family and her community and when moms are healthy, their families and community are better for it.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Pamela Carbiener has worked to maintain prenatal access to all women in Volusia and Flagler counties. To learn more about the obstetric and gynecological services provided by doctors and midwives at Halifax OB/GYN Associates, visit or call 386.252.4701.

Pamela P. Carbiener, MD
Halifax OB/GYN Associates

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