Eating for Two?

Eating for Two?
by Dr. Avelino Garcia
(As seen in the Odessa American “Medical Matters”.)

Good nutrition is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Between fatigue and pregnancy cravings, it can seem difficult to keep healthy eating habits. Planning healthy meals and staying physically active can help.

Eating five or six small meals daily, rather than three large meals, can help with nausea and can also help pregnant women get extra vitamins and minerals needed for growing babies. Each day, eat foods from the major food groups, keeping fats and sugars in moderation. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are encouraged. Be sure that red meats are fully cooked, not rare, as this can cause illness in a pregnant woman. Fish and seafood are good sources of protein, but stay away from seafood with high mercury content such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. Limit white (albacore) tuna to six ounces weekly.

Hydration is also a key part of proper nutrition. Pregnant women are encouraged to drink at least two liters of water daily. Symptoms of dehydration in pregnancy include thirst, headache and uterine cramping. Sugary and caffeinated drinks increase risk for dehydration, so they are to be avoided.

Staying physically active is one of the healthiest things an expectant mom can do for her unborn baby. Thirty minutes of low intensity exercise, like walking, is encouraged. Unless an expectant mother has a high-risk pregnancy, exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels, keep blood pressure in the normal range and minimize abnormal weight gain.

The United States Department of Agriculture has made meal planning easier by creating The website assists everyone, including pregnant women, figure out how to make healthy choices with each meal. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Nutrition During Pregnancy”, the MyPlate website gives “personalized nutrition and physical activity plans by using the ‘Super Tracker’ program. This program is based on five food groups and shows the exact amounts needed each day from each group during each trimester of pregnancy.”

Choose MyPlate provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information.




by Krystal Murphy, M.D.

Twenty years ago, infertility was a very taboo subject. It was not something you discussed with your friends, and in some cases, even your family. Even today, infertility is a subject that many women do not discuss openly.

For many women, the ability to bear children is an important aspect of their roles as women. The majority of women want to be mothers.

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child after one year of unprotected, timed intercourse. Infertility is much more common than one might think. In a survey of married women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1.5 million women in the United States are infertile (source: National Survey of Family Growth, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2006-2010).

Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one reason contributing to infertility. There can be many reasons why a woman is unable to achieve pregnancy. Some of those reasons could include PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or recurrent untreated pelvic infections. Certain physical problems can also attribute to infertility, including blocked fallopian tubes, an abnormally shaped uterus, uterine polyps or even a thickened endometrium (lining of the uterus).

Up to 15 percent of couples are infertile. In up to half of these couples, male infertility plays a role (source: Mayo Clinic). Male infertility can be caused by many things. Certain illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems and different lifestyle choices all can cause issues when attempting to conceive a child.

Infertility can be frustrating and stressful. When expert care and answers are needed, it is best to seek care from a gynecologist. Your doctor can help find the answers, provide comfort or recommend referrals.

If you are having difficulty conceiving a child, or if you have questions or concerns regarding infertility, call ProCare Women’s Clinic at 432-640-2491 and make your appointment today!



by Dr. Raymond Martinez

One very important aspect of Women’s Health is bone health. Having a healthy bone structure is vital for women of all ages. Calcium and Vitamin D intake is essential to maintaining strong bones. Weight-bearing activity can also help keep bones and the surrounding muscles strong.

As women age, some changes in bone density may occur. Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass, weakened bone structure and an increased fracture risk (Source:National Osteoporosis Foundation). Osteoporosis is sometimes called a “silent” disease because many women do not know there is a problem until they experience a broken bone. In particular, postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for bone loss. When too much bone loss occurs, there is an increase in fracture risk.

“In the five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass, leaving them at risk for fracture. In fact, one in two women over the age of 50 will have a fracture related to osteoporosis in their lifetime.” (Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation)

The most common places to experience fractures due to bone loss include the spine, the hip and the wrist.

  • In severe cases, spinal fractures can occur from a wrong step or by lifting a small object. Hip fractures are serious and may require surgical intervention.
  • Hip fractures may cause future issues with walking or mobility. Most hip fractures are caused by falls.
  • Wrist fractures can be caused by even a minor fall onto the hand or outstretched arm.

There are multiple factors that put patients at an increased risk for fracture including age, low bone density, frequent falls, low body weight, low calcium or vitamin D intake, smoking and inactivity.

It is recommended that postmenopausal women over the age of 50 discuss osteoporosis risks with their doctor. These patients are encouraged to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet and talk to the provider regarding any necessary supplements. Regular weight bearing exercise, like daily walking, is encouraged to build bone density and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Keeping healthy lifestyle habits, like not smoking or drinking alcohol to excess can also increase bone health.

Regular bone density screenings (or DEXA Scans) can be ordered by your physician to monitor bone health. These can be done at the same time as a mammogram.

To discuss your bone health, call Procare Women’s Clinic at 432-640-2491 to schedule an appointment.


Smoking during Pregnancy – It is possible to quit smoking!

Smoking during Pregnancy – It is possible to quit smoking!
by Dr. Antonio Chavez

At ProCare Women’s Clinic, we want your pregnancy to be as healthy as possible. A healthy pregnancy includes good diet, exercise and staying away from things that can be harmful to your body. This includes tobacco use.

Everyone knows that smoking is not healthy. Smoking can be especially dangerous during pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy exposes the unborn baby to harmful chemicals like tar and nicotine. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict and may limit the oxygen and nutrients that reach the baby. Smoking also exposes the baby to Carbon Monoxide, which decreases the amount of oxygen the baby receives.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for preterm births. Smoking also can cause problems with the placenta, or the tissue that provides nourishment to the baby. Babies of women who smoke during pregnancy tend to be smaller than those babies born to nonsmokers.

Even being exposed to someone who smokes puts baby at risk. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Breathing secondhand smoke – smoke from cigarettes smoked by other people nearby – can increase the risk of having a low birth weight baby by as much as 20 percent.”

Babies of women who smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to have problems with breathing or asthma, colic and childhood obesity. They also are at increased risk for dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It is possible to quit smoking! If you are pregnant and smoke, tell your health care provider. Health Care Support and quitting programs are available everywhere, including the National Quit Line at 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669). Locally you can attend FREE Smoking Independence Classes every Thursday from 6pm to 7pm at the Medical Center Hospital Cardiopulmonary Education Room. For additional information on the free classes, contact the Pulmonary Patient Educator at 432-640-2638 or 432-640-2395.