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Family Planning 101: How Obstetricians Help

Family Planning 101If you take the next big step in life and build a family, family planning services can help you prepare for or prevent pregnancy. These services allow you to create the right family size for you.

An obstetrician or OB/GYN can help with all matters relating to family planning, such as preconception planning, prenatal care, labor and delivery, and newborn medicine. 

Planning a Pregnancy 

Family planning primarily focuses on preventing pregnancy through various contraceptive methods. To accomplish this, obstetricians can prescribe contraceptive medications, refer you to third-party counseling, or offer advice on how to best prevent and plan pregnancy at the right time.

They may inform you of lifestyle changes that you need to make, which can include:

  • Following a more nutrient-dense diet
  • Stopping smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Taking prenatal vitamins
  • Reviewing any medications you’ve been taking

Obstetricians don’t just serve as compassionate advisors; they also offer hands-on help by administering blood work or inserting an IUD or alternative contraceptive method. 

Spacing Apart Multiple Pregnancies

Spacing Apart Multiple PregnanciesSome women have more children soon after their first baby is born, whereas others have separate pregnancies. Sometimes, waiting to get pregnant again is a matter of safety. For instance, if you’ve had a C-section, it’s advised to wait 18 months before conceiving again.

If you’ve miscarried, it’s advised to wait 3 or 4 months before conceiving again. The care received between pregnancies is formally referred to as interpregnancy care.

These health services cover a broad span of important issues:

  • Screening for depression
  • Vaccination
  • Managing hypertension or diabetes
  • Education on future health

OBs offer a full breadth of interpregnancy care services to optimize your health before your next pregnancy. Timing your pregnancy plays an important role in your overall health and your future baby’s health. 

Preventing Unwanted Pregnancies

Spacing Apart Multiple PregnanciesIf you want to keep your family size within a specific limit, temporarily or permanently preventing or avoiding pregnancy is important.

With strides in research and development, there are plenty of advanced, effective contraceptive methods to choose from, be it a six-month injectable, a once-a-month pill, or the microarray (MAPs) patch (kind of like a Band-Aid that sticks into the skin to dissolve and release hormones over several months). 

An OB can offer temporary, reversible birth control options:

  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Vaginal rings
  • Hormonal birth control patches
  • Birth control pills or shots

If you’re done having any more kids, there are permanent birth control methods like tubal ligation. There are long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) like IUDs and implants; a healthcare provider can remove these. Although these birth control options are more intrusive, they are reversible.

Removing an IUD. When your healthcare provider removes an IUD, they drape a sheet over your body and use a speculum, a device that holds the vagina open in order to reach the IUD strings. Forceps are used to grab the IUD strings and slowly remove them.

Removing a birth control implant. Like an insertion, the doctor will numb a small area of your arm, make a tiny cut and gently remove the implant. The procedure doesn’t hurt. But, just like a shot, you should feel a pinch during the procedure. 

With so many birth control options, you might be thinking, “Where do I start?” If you are curious about which birth control option is the best for you, schedule an appointment with one of our staff members to get more information.

Family Planning Services Offered by Obstetricians

Spacing Apart Multiple PregnanciesFamily planning includes a wide span of women’s health services, from birth control to fertility testing and even referral-based psychiatric evaluations; family planning services help to mitigate pregnancy risks and ensure a healthy delivery to term.

  • Pregnancy testing and outpatient referrals
  • Education and counseling on birth control options
  • Prescription and non-prescription, over-the-counter contraceptive supplies and medications
  • Routine gynecological exams (pap smear, pelvic exam, breast exam, hematocrit test for anemia, HIV, or syphilis)
  • Screening and treatment for urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and vaginal infections

Comprehensive Health Assessments

This is a significant component of family planning. Health assessments give you insights into any potential roadblocks to a healthy pregnancy. It allows healthcare professionals to take preventative actions that serve to avoid or mitigate health risks associated with the pregnancy. 

Infertility Services

If you and your partner have trouble conceiving, obstetricians can offer infertility services. These are often medical procedures that assist with conception:

  • Fertility medications
  • Cryopreservation of gametes or embryos
  • Vitro fertilization
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Pregnancy Testing and Counseling

If you’re in need of solace or confirmation regarding your pregnancy journey, an OB can help. At Northland Women’s Health, we offer pre-pregnancy planning and counseling to prepare you for childbirth. We also have OTC meds for pregnant patients.

There is also standard pregnancy testing available. These tests can include blood work meant to assess the overall health of your pregnancy, identifying any potential cancers, iron deficiencies, or infectious diseases.

An obstetric panel, a series of blood tests taken before and during early pregnancy, measures your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in order to identify a normal or pathologic pregnancy. Blood tests can even be used after an aborted pregnancy. The two types of blood tests include:

  • Quantitative blood test: measures how far along the pregnancy has progressed.
  • Qualitative blood test: checks for the presence of hCG in the blood.

Preconception Health Services

Preconception health service is the medical care given by a doctor to increase the chances of conceiving. It pertains to a woman’s overall health before becoming pregnant. These health services can include a health risk assessment, advice on healthy lifestyle habits (quitting smoking, drugs, or changing one’s diet), specific counseling and medical intervention. Preconception health services are customized based on your unique needs and circumstances.

Personal and Family Health History Evaluation

An OB can, of course, examine your personal health history and determine the best way to handle your 9-month-long journey.

They can determine the best course of action should your family health history include things like diabetes, heart disease, or psychiatric disorders. There may be specific medications you need to take or certain foods you should avoid. Having a trusted OB by your side from day one increases the chance of having a healthy pregnancy and reduces the odds of health complications during and after labor.

Outsourced Genetic Counseling

An obstetrician can refer you to a genetic counselor or a psychiatric mental health counselor if the issue falls well outside of their specialty. Genetic counselors assess the health risks associated with your family’s genes. If you need specialized services that fall outside of the expertise of obstetrics, your provider can leverage a wealth of connections to get you the care you need.

Plan Your Pregnancy at Northland Women’s Health Care in Kansas City

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Our experienced team of women’s health specialists is here to compassionately support you at every step of the way. Call us today to get started or to learn more about how our services can help you.


Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665