Summer is in full swing and yesterday was the first Sunday of the Pastor’s sabbatical. For as long as we have been married he has worked at our church. 16 years. For most of those years his weekly day off was my longest day of the work week. And my days off after being on call overnight were the Pastor’s busiest days. So this year he gets to take two months off to rest, recover and reconnect. For the next 8 weeks, Sundays and postcall days will be filled with brunch, swimming, day trips and, hopefully, some other fun adventures as a family.
In honor of all things summer….here are the gynecologist’s list of “Summer DOs and DON’Ts”
DON’T go without sunscreen. Especially you pregnant ladies. I know what you’re thinking…”sunscreen is for people who look like you and those red headed kids of yours.” WRONG. Sunscreen is for everyone. That is, everyone who doesn’t want to get skin cancer or look super wrinkly when they are old. And, sunscreen is for year round. I thought my dermatologist was going to whack me when she found out I wasn’t using a moisturizer with SPF. Don’t worry, I do now…every day…I’d like to avoid looking 100 before I retire. I used to know someone who used hand sanitizer on her kids like a zillion times every day but then those same kids would swim for hours at the peak times of sun exposure turning brown, brown, brown all summer. Just because you don’t get red doesn’t mean your skin is safe friends. Tips for everyone: use broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher; reapply every 2 hours; find water resistant formulas. Pregnant women should opt for oil free (your skin is more prone to break out) and opt for a lotion instead of a spray. (Never spray anyone’s face…esp your kids and remember sprays make it easier to miss spots!). And when your baby comes ask your pediatrician about how best to protect that brand new skin from the sun.
DO wear your seatbelt. This seems obvious to me. The Pastor and I took a recent road trip and you’ll be surprised to know that Missouri and Indiana will tell you how many people died in auto accidents that month. The 10 year old reading road signs alerted us to the number. Ouch. But lots of pregnant patients choose to go without. I wish you could hear how loud I am screaming this at you. Pregnant ladies! For the love of all things including your baby!!! Wear your seatbelts! Put the lap belt UNDER your belly and the shoulder strap across your chest. Auto accidents are a leading cause of death for pregnant women. Your uterus, placenta and fetus were not made to sustain direct or indirect trauma from an accident and you can imagine the increase in magnitude if you are thrown from your vehicle because you failed to wear your seatbelt. A quick search of the CDC will tell you that those without a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the car during an accident and 3 out of 4 ejected individuals will die as a result of their injuries. So let’s all just buckle up, ok friends?
DO use insect repellent. I have no problem with blood and guts. You know this. If you follow along, you also know that I think bugs are the worst! Actual conversation with my dad. Me: Dad, killed a spider outside. It was like the size of my face, I promise. Pastor is out of town, can you spray my house? Dad: If it was outside it was one of the good ones. His death will be on your conscience. But yes, I will come and spray. (end scene). However, as terrifying as spiders are…mosquitos carry all sorts of diseases including zika virus and west nile virus. Then there are ticks. I don’t know if you have seen a tick up close but this image is not for the faint of heart. Tick borne disease are the ones you learn about in med school that have the cool names and then you learn about them and are terrified. Tips: Use your bug spray with DEET (even you pregnant ladies), cover exposed skin, avoid standing water and if you are out doing some crazy activity like sleeping in a tent (no thank you) make sure you check your skin for ticks.
DON’T overgroom. I’m not even sure overgrooming is a word. But for today I am making it one and asking you ladies, pregnant or not, to stop it. Summer is a hassle. Shaving your legs and armpits all the time, wearing a swimsuit; I get it. But let’s not go overboard. Not only are there literally THOUSANDS of grooming related injuries each year, the good Lord gave you pubic hair for a reason. (I know, commence freaking out that the gynecologist said pubic hair in her blog. Resume reading when over freak out moment). And while none of us know the exact reason, it is most likely to keep dirt and other stuff out of your vagina and to reduce irritation of that sensitive skin. So be swimsuit ready. But overdoing can result in lots of skin irritation or even infection.
So there you have it. Summer safety tips from the gyno. Oh, and in case you were thinking about blowing off one of your fingers with fireworks, here’s an OBGYN joke just for you…