Frequently Asked Questions

At Ob-Gyne Associates of Lake Forest, we strive to make every single woman’s visit to our office enjoyable, professional, and individualized. For any general questions that you may have, here is a short list of commonly asked questions for those who are seeking to learn more about health care for women.

Gynecology FAQ's

What do I need to bring with me to my first visit?

Patients should bring their insurance card, a valid Driver’s License or Photo ID, a list of current medications, and a method of payment. For anyone who is younger than 18 years old, we request that a patient or guardian is present in order to discuss parental consent and confidentiality. First-time patients should download and complete the patient forms and bring them to the office for their appointment.

When should I bring my young daughter in for her first Gynecological Exam?

It is recommended that young women have their first Gynecologic visit by the age of 18, or when they become sexually active and have questions about contraception’s and STI’s.

When do I need to start thinking about getting a Mammogram?

Women aged 40 and older should have a mammogram every year. Women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to things such as family history are advised to talk with their physician about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40.

I skipped one of my birth control pills, and I am now experiencing vaginal bleeding. What should I do?

The skipping of just one birth control pill can potentially produce a hormone imbalance, and which can cause a symptom referred to as “breakthrough bleeding.” This is a relatively normal occurrence, and you should take the missed pill as soon as you realize you’ve skipped it. If you have skipped more than two birth control pills, you should use condoms for the remainder of the month.

I missed my period but my pregnancy test is negative. What should I do?

Women who miss a period but find their pregnancy test result to be negative should cautiously monitor the situation, as sometimes something as simple as an increase in stress can cause a woman to miss her period. However, if the same thing happens during the next cycle, you should contact our office to schedule an appointment; you may need to change your birth control.

I recently found a lump in my breast. What should I do?

Women who have found a lump in one of their breasts should contact our office to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.

How often should I have a Pap Smear?

A woman should have a Pap Smear test annually. However, if you have had a history of abnormal paps, or if your Ob-Gyn has instructed you differently, you may need to have a pap smear more or less frequently than a year. There are new national guidelines that vary depending on your age and history.

What is menopause, and what kind of symptoms can I anticipate?

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods stop entirely, and the ovaries begin to produce smaller amounts of three hormones-estrogen, androgen, and progesterone. The average age when an American woman experiences the beginning of menopause is around 51 years old. An early-stage menopausal woman may experience hot flashes, as well as night sweats, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances.

Are my medical records confidential?

Yes, all of your medical records are confidential, and will only be released if you give us written authorization.

Obstetrics FAQ's

How much can I exercise while pregnant?

For people who regularly maintain active lifestyles, it is safe to do so during pregnancy, though women should strive to stick to an exercise pace that is not to vigorous or exhausting. For women who don’t regularly keep an active lifestyle, it is recommended that at least some light exercise be incorporated in to their daily life; just walking a moderate pace should suffice.

What should I avoid eating while pregnant?

Women are strongly urged to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, and to limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg. per day, which equals roughly two 5-ounce cups of coffee. Women are also encouraged to avoid raw/uncooked foods, seafood (Shark, King Mackerel, Tilefish, Swordfish, or Raw Fish of any kind. It is okay to consume a total of 12 oz. per week of fish and shellfish), refrigerated smoked seafood unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole, Unpasteurized milk, juice, or apple cider, Soft cheeses such as gorgonzola, Brie, feta, camembert, and queso, and Unwashed fruits and vegetables.

Can I continue to eat and drink foods that contain artificial sweeteners?

Women are encouraged to avoid anything that contains aspartame, which is found in products like Sweet and Low. However, the artificial sweetener Splenda is deemed to be okay to consume while pregnant, since it is made from all-natural ingredients.

How should I treat a cold?

It is recommended that you do not take anything with ibuprofen in it. Aside from drinking fluids and resting, pregnant women who are past their first trimester are permitted to take Tylenol, Dimetapp, Mucinex and Robitussin. Women can also take cough drops, Vitamin C Lozenges, and saline spray.

May I travel while pregnant?

For uncomplicated pregnancies, travel is not a problem. When traveling by car, make plans to stop at least every two hours to get out and walk for five minutes. Any women at the 34 week mark should consult their physician before engaging in travel.

Are dental x-rays okay?

Yes, but be sure that your abdomen is completely shielded when having the x-rays taken.

What symptoms should be reported to my physician?

Just some of the symptoms that should be reported to our office include contractions, bleeding, nausea, headaches, cramping, decreased movement of the baby, fever of over 100 degrees, loss of fluid from the vagina, or any other symptoms that seem abnormal.

What are some suggestions for dealing with morning sickness?

Some recommendations for morning sickness include:

  • Eat several small meals during the day so your stomach doesn’t remain empty for long
  • Avoid greasy, fried, and spicy foods
  • Drink soups and other liquids between meals
  • Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or whenever you feel nauseous
  • Have some juice, milk, yogurt or cottage cheese before you go to bed or before you wake up
  • Ginger candy or tea can help nausea
  • Vitamin B can also help relieve nausea

What can I do about constipation?

To ease constipation during pregnancy, women are encouraged to try adding high in fiber foods to their diet like bran, fruit and vegetables, on top of increasing their daily water intake. You may also try products like Fibercon, Metamucil, Citrucel, or MiraLax.

What prenatal vitamins should I be taking?

Women should look for prenatal vitamins that contain Vitamin’s A, D, C, E, and B, Folic Acid, Calcium, Pyridoxine, Zinc, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and DHA.

Birth Control FAQ's

What is the most effective form of birth control?

There are many birth control methods on the market today that are highly effective. The primary methods of birth control available include.

Barrier Methods - Generally speaking, barrier methods do not prevent pregnancy as effective as hormonal methods and IUD’s (Intrauterine Devices), and they must be used EVERY TIME that you have sex. Barrier methods include condoms, sponges, and diaphragms.

Hormonal Methods - Statistically very good at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal methods include birth control pills, shots (Depo-Provera), the vaginal ring, and Nexplanon.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s) - IUD’s are inserted into your uterus, work for 5-10 years at a time, and are a generally safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. The Mirena IUD contains a hormone that can help with heavy periods and cramping.

Natural Family Planning - Also referred to as “fertility awareness,” Natural Family Planning can be effective provided that you and your sexual partner are extremely careful, and are especially mindful of what times of the month are best to engage in sexual activity. Women practicing natural family planning are strongly encouraged to keep good records so as to know when they are fertile; and for times when you ARE fertile, you will need to abstain from sex, or use a barrier method.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that all women are different, and that the best way to find out what method is best for you is by consulting with a licensed healthcare provider.

What are some of the potential side-effects of birth control pills?

Some possible side effects of birth control pills includes nausea, bloating, breast enlargement and tenderness, spotting between periods, decreased sex drive, and migraines. The best way to know which form of birth control will minimize undesirable side-effects is to consult with your healthcare provider.

Do birth control pills protect against STI’s?

No, It is extremely important to remember that birth control pills do NOT prevent against anything but unwanted pregnancies. No form of birth control will help prevent a sexually transmitted disease. There are only two proven methods that protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases: the male or female condom and abstinence.

How soon after stopping the birth control pill can you conceive?

Generally speaking, a woman may have only a two-week delay before she can ovulate again. Once ovulation resumes, a woman can once again become pregnant. On average, a woman’s period will follow about four to six weeks after the last pill is taken.

What if your period doesn't resume even after you stop taking the birth control pill?

If even after stopping the use of birth control pills you find that you are still not having your period, you may have what is commonly known as post-pill amenorrhea. Typically your period should start again within three months after you stop taking the pill. If after 5-6 months you still haven’t had your period, consult your physician.

What if your period doesn't resume even after you stop taking the birth control pill?

If even after stopping the use of birth control pills you find that you are still not having your period, you may have what is commonly known as post-pill amenorrhea. Typically your period should start again within three months after you stop taking the pill. If after 5-6 months you still haven’t had your period, consult your physician.

Where can I get birth control?

Where you get birth control depends on what method you eventually choose, although it should be noted that regardless of what method of birth control you decide on, it is still highly recommended that you consult with your gynecologist first so that you can get a licensed medical professional’s opinion on what might be the best method for you-

Over the Counter

  • Condoms
  • Sponges
  • Emergency Contraception (If under 15, a prescription is needed)


  • Oral contraceptives (I.e the pill)
  • Vaginal ring
  • Skin patch
  • Diaphragm (After a fitting with your healthcare provider)
  • Shot/injection (Available at your physician’s office)
  • IUD (Inserted by a healthcare provider)
  • Nexplanon (Inserted by a healthcare provider)

Surgery/Medical Procedures

  • Male or female sterilization

Ultrasound FAQ's

Ultrasound at Ob-Gyne Associates follows the AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine) guidelines and employs a registered (ARDMS) ultrasonographer who specializes in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. We have high-resolution ultrasound machines, including those with 3D/4D capabilities. 3D & 4D imaging is used routinely during your scan as well as a large monitor so you and your family can better see the images.

How many ultrasounds do we get with our pregnancy?

In a normal singleton pregnancy you will receive two routine scans. One of the scans is at your confirmation appointment and the next is done at 21 weeks. The 21-week exam is called a fetal survey or malformation screening. We check the baby from head to toe make sure that everything we can see is well formed. At this time we are usually able to tell you the sex if you wish to know. We always try to ask if you want to know before your scan for those folks who don’t. Please feel free to let us know your wishes at that time. We will make every attempt to make sure you don’t see the sex if you don’t wish to know.

What is NT (Nuchal Translucency) testing or first trimester screening?

Fetal screening for Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) and Trisomy 18 is available in the first trimester. This involves a simple blood test at the lab and the ultrasound measurement of a small space on the back of the baby’s neck called the “nuchal translucency.” This data is analyzed and gives you your risk for having a baby with these genetic malformations. It is important to realize that the test only tells you your risk. For example, your risk for having a baby with Down might come back as 1 in 10,000, or 1 in 500. If your risk is greater than 1 in 200 the screen is considered to be “positive”. This does not mean that your baby has the abnormal gene, only that it falls into a higher risk group. The only way to determine with 100% accuracy that your baby is affected is to have an amniocentesis, which is not performed in our office.

In the second trimester, usually between 15 & 19 weeks you will be offered a second blood test. It revises your risk for Trisomy 18 & 21 and also screens your baby for spina bifida and Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome. The accuracy of the tests is increased because the first and second trimester results are taken together, or integrated. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of these tests, and some do not. Our billing office will be contacting you to let you know what your share of cost will be.

We will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the testing. Remember that having this test is completely optional. If you decide to do testing, you will referred out to a specialist.

How soon can we find out the sex of the baby?

With rare exceptions we are unable to tell you the gender of the baby until the second trimester at the 21-week anatomy screen. We usually do not schedule this test before 21 weeks.

Can I have a 3D/4D "e;play"e; ultrasound?

Yes! We believe the best time to schedule this scan is between 28 & 32 weeks. Waiting longer makes the babies harder to see, as things get more crowded. At 28 weeks the babies have more muscle and soft tissue and begin to look very much like they will look when they are born. Please contact our office to schedule.

What is the difference between 4D ULTRASOUND and 3D ULTRASOUND images?

4D ULTRASOUNDS utilize 3D ULTRASOUND images, however, 4D ULTRASOUNDS add the element of time to the process, which results in live-action ULTRASOUND images of your baby. The 4th dimension is time. This means we are able to see the baby moving in 3D.

Do I need a full bladder for my obstetrical or gynecological ultrasound?

Generally you do not need a full bladder. For obstetrical scans we ask that you don’t empty your bladder until your scan is over. We can assess your cervix better if your bladder is somewhat full. Also, you will be leaving a urine specimen if you are seeing your doctor after your scan.

If you are not pregnant we will be scanning vaginally. We always scan vaginally for gynecological scans. The only exception is patient’s who have never been sexually active.

Can I still be scanned if I am on my period?

Yes, we are usually able to scan if you are menstruating. We frequently scan patient’s who are having bleeding issues. Just let us know you are bleeding when we take you into the room. If you are being seen for abnormal bleeding please try to schedule your pelvic ultrasound in the week just after your period ends. We are better able to assess the uterine lining at that time.

What is the difference between an ULTRASOUND and a Sonogram?

An ULTRASOUND is a test that allows you to see your baby during your pregnancy. A sonogram is the picture taken of your baby during the ULTRASOUND procedure.

Is a prenatal ULTRASOUND safe for me and my baby?

Numerous studies have shown that an ULTRASOUND is not harmful to either you or your baby. Unlike an x-ray test, an ULTRASOUND does not use radiation.

How should one prepare for an ULTRASOUND?

No special preparation is needed for an ULTRASOUND.

Will insurance pay for the ULTRASOUND?

An ULTRASOUND is usually covered under most insurance policies as long as the procedure is deemed to be medically necessary. If you are seeking an ULTRASOUND for reasons deemed to be non-essential, like for purposes of just finding out the sex of the baby, it is possible that your insurance company may not pay for the ULTRASOUND.

What are the primary reasons for performing the ULTRASOUND test?

The primary reasons for conducting the ULTRASOUND test includes dating of the pregnancy, checking for fetal viability, screening for genetic defects or anomalies, and ruling out ectopic pregnancy.

When is the best time to have an ULTRASOUND performed?

The ULTRASOUND can be performed at any point during pregnancy, depending on the results and information that is desired. Most women have an ULTRASOUND between 18-22 weeks.