Births Are Falling in the U.S.

Women aren’t having as many children as they used to. The number of births in the US has been falling about 1% each year for the past five years and recently reached the lowest birth rate in 35 years, CDC statistics revealed. Some speculate that the coronavirus pandemic might even further this trend.

US Birth Rates Falling

Wondering why the birth rate is falling these days?

The reasons vary, but here are a few possibilities:

  • The birth rate for teenagers dropped 5% in 2019. Overall, the birth rate among teenagers has dropped 60% since 2007 and 73% since 1991.
  • Women seem to be waiting longer to have children. The birth rate among women in their early 40s rose 2% in 2019, but dropped for almost all age groups of women under 35.
  • Many women are choosing to have fewer children than in the past, or none at all. This is frequently driven by concerns over money, the high costs of childcare and insurance, political turmoil, lack of solid parental leave policies, and the overall outlook for the future.

Will the coronavirus outbreak have any impact on birth rate in the US?
There’s been a lot of joking over the past few months that with all this time at home, we’re bound to see a baby boom in the coming year. But experts say this isn’t likely. It’s easy to see why when you take a closer look at the situation. Many people have lost their jobs, and others have kept their jobs but are still concerned about money and job security. These fears and concerns may keep some people from adding to their family.

The pandemic has created numerous challenges for pregnant women in terms of physical and mental health, too. In some outbreak hotspots, hospital systems were strained with high numbers of COVID-19 patients and were consistently revising policies around childbirth. For a short period of time, women at some New York City hospitals had to give birth without the support of a loved one due to strict hospital restrictions. Anxious about these policies and worried about the possibility of COVID-19 transmission in hospitals, some women are considering giving birth at home or deciding not to get pregnant right now. Additionally, some women have struggled to receive infertility care when medical practices were forced to close down for social distancing.

The coronavirus pandemic is a substantial concern and should not be ignored, but it doesn’t need to stand in the way of having a child. If you’re feeling stressed or confused by the multitude of ways the coronavirus is affecting our lives, or have any questions or concerns about childbirth, consider speaking with a healthcare professional who can answer your questions and provide support.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Everything You Need to Know About Miscarriage

Having a healthy pregnancy is top of mind for most women who become pregnant, and the thought of having a miscarriage can be scary and overwhelming. Unfortunately, miscarriage is more common than some people realize, and can affect somewhere around one in ten women, or more.

Miscarriage

If you are pregnant, it’s important to understand what a miscarriage is, why it happens, and what can increase your risk. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a miscarriage?
Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy due to natural causes during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. Many miscarriages happen when the fetus has trouble developing normally. You may hear your doctor refer to miscarriage as “spontaneous abortion,” as this is the proper medical term.

Is miscarriage common?
Up to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, though the exact statistics can vary depending what source you reference. It’s important to understand that most miscarriages take place early in a pregnancy. Nearly 80% occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and many times, the miscarriage can occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

What are some of the signs of a miscarriage?
Some of the most common signs of a miscarriage include abdominal pain or cramping, vaginal spotting or bleeding, back pain, weight loss, feeling light-headed, and tissue or fluid passing from the vagina. Keep in mind that vaginal spotting is common in the first trimester—if you happen to notice spotting in the early months of your pregnancy, this doesn’t mean you are experiencing a miscarriage. That said, it’s still important to get in touch with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

This is especially true if you notice that tissue is being passed from your vagina. If this happens, Mayo Clinic recommends storing it in a clean container and bringing it to the hospital or your doctor so they can take a closer look.

Why does a miscarriage happen?
A miscarriage can happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes include an abnormally shaped womb, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a weak cervix that opens too early in the pregnancy, problems with placenta development, and when the fertilized egg doesn’t have the correct number of chromosomes.

Some factors put women at a higher risk of a miscarriage.

Here are some of the most common:

  • Age: After age 35, women are at a higher risk of miscarriage. At age 40 the risk is somewhere around 40%, and by age 45 the risk rises steeply to 80%.
  • Chronic conditions: If you have uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, or another chronic condition, you may be at a higher risk of miscarriage. It’s important to speak with your doctor about pregnancy-related risks if you suffer from any chronic conditions.
  • Cervical problems: If you suffer from an incompetent cervix (also known as a weakened cervix) or another uterine or cervical problem, you might be at higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Drug and alcohol use and smoking: All of these behaviors can increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • A history of miscarriage: If you’ve had more than one consecutive miscarriage in the past, you’re at higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Weight: If you’re underweight or overweight, you may be at a higher risk for miscarriage.

The impact of a miscarriage isn’t just physical.
Many women experience grief and sadness following a miscarriage, and this is completely normal. Following a miscarriage, many women have reported feeling shame, guilt, loneliness, as if they had done something wrong, or as if they had lost a child. If you think it would be helpful to speak with someone about what you’re experiencing but you don’t already have a mental health expert you can see, ask your doctor if they can refer you to someone they trust.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Low Sex Drive

Maybe you’re suddenly experiencing a lack of interest in sex, or maybe you’ve never had that strong of a sex drive. Either way, experiencing low or fluctuating libido can be confusing and may even make you feel like something is wrong. Sex drive varies greatly among women, but if you experience limited or no sexual desire for six months or more, you could be experiencing a form of sexual dysfunction called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD.

Low Libido

Here’s what you need to know about low sex drive:

What are the signs of a low libido?

  • You rarely or never have sexual thoughts or fantasies.
  • You have no interest in sex, masturbation, or other sexual activities.
  • You worry about your lack of sexual fantasies and activity.
  • You don’t feel a strong interest in initiating sex.
  • You have trouble experiencing pleasure from sex.

What are some reasons you may experience low sex drive?
Many different factors can affect your sex drive. Here are some to be aware of:

  • Medication: Oral contraceptives (birth control pills), antidepressants, and other medications carry a risk of side effects, including low libido.
  • Relationship challenges: If you’re unhappy and experiencing relationship challenges, you may not feel as drawn to sex as you once were. The reasons can vary greatly, from not connecting emotionally with your partner to the stress of caring for a new child.
  • Low estrogen: As you age and reach your menopausal years, your estrogen levels may fall— this can contribute to a low sex drive as well as vaginal dryness that can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
  • Pregnancy-related hormone changes: Your hormone levels change during pregnancy and after you give birth. These changes, along with the stress of caring for a new baby, can sometimes lower your libido.
  • Medical problems including depression, thyroid disorders, endometriosis, and fibroids can all play a role in lowering your sexual desire.
  • Stress: If you’re experiencing a lot of stress in your work life or home life, you may experience low libido.
  • Mental health problems: Poor body image, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, a history of sexual abuse, and other psychological conditions can all affect your sex drive.

Is there any way to treat low libido?
There are many ways to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder, and the treatment that’s most effective will almost always vary from person to person depending on the reason why you’re experiencing low libido. For example, if your condition is related to stress, your physician will look for ways to help you reduce stress in your life. If your low sex drive is related to anxiety or depression, speaking to a counselor or getting regular exercise may help. Other ways to treat HSDD include Kegel exercises, masturbating, speaking with your partner about your desires and what is pleasing to you sexually, or taking medication.

Should I see a doctor if I’m experiencing low sex drive?
If you’re unhappy or concerned about your lack of sexual desire, it can be helpful to see your doctor or a therapist. Trained professionals are skilled at helping you address and work through low libido, whether this involves changing your medication, lowering your stress levels, or something else.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.