Ovarian Cancer Awareness

ovarian-cancer-ribbonAlthough there is fewer than 200,000 cases per year, ovarian cancer is the cause for approximately 3% of cancers among women, but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time to share important information on it?

Southeast Women’s Center offers pertinent information you need to know about this gynecological cancer.

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, a part of the female reproductive system. Like other cancer, it can spread to other parts of the body, but can also be successfully treated, especially if it is found early enough.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

  • Frequent bloating or swelling of the abdominal area
  • Weight loss
  • Pain and/or discomfort in the stomach or pelvis
  • Feeling full easily, and/or trouble eating
  • Urination problems, such as the frequent urge or urinating more than usual
  • Change in bowel habits, such as constipation

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they worry you, contact your doctor to schedule an appointment.

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors of ovarian cancer, including, but not limited to:

  • Family History
  • Age (most common from 50-60 years old)
  • Reproductive History
  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Gynecologic Surgery
  • Fertility Drugs
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

For a more detailed list of risk factors, please visit cancer.org.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are 3 different types ovarian cancer. The type of cancer is determined by the type of cell said cancer begins.

Epithelial Tumors
Around 90% of ovarian cancer is due to epithelial tumors, which begin in the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the ovaries.
Stromal Tumors
Usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than the others, stromal tumors begin in the ovarian tissue containing hormone-producing cells. Stromal tumors account for around 7% of ovarian tumors.
Germ Cell Tumors
The rarest of ovarian cancer, germ cell tumors tend to occur in younger women. They begin in the egg-producing cells.

Tests and Diagnosis

A pelvic examination is likely to be the first thing a doctor wants to do. The outer part of genitals will be looked at, and the uterus and ovaries will be checked out, as well. A visual examination using a speculum will also be used. Depending on the initial pelvic examination, the doctor may also recommend:

Imaging Tests. An ultrasound or CT scan of one’s abdomen and pelvis can help determine the shape, size, and structure of one’s ovaries.

Blood Test. A blood test can detect a specific protein, CA 125, which is found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells.

Surgery. Minimally invasive or robotic surgery may be an option to remove a tissue sample and confirm diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

A doctor can help determine what stage one is in after surgery. Knowing the stage helps determine the prognosis and treatment options:

Stage I. Cancer is found in one or both ovaries.
Stage II. Cancer has spread to other parts of the pelvis.
Stage III. Cancer has spread to the abdomen.
Stage IV. Cancer is found outside the abdomen.

Without proper preventative care, it is common for ovarian cancer to go undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and belly. At such a late stage, it is more difficult to treat and can be fatal. That is why preventative care is so important. If you are concerned with any of the above, contact your doctor today.

Breastfeeding Information

August is National Breastfeeding month.

BreastfeedingSoutheast Women’s Center offers information, facts and tips about breastfeeding a baby.

There are some extenuating circumstances that don’t allow breastfeeding to occur for some mothers. For one, it takes a lot of patience and dedication to get into the a perfect flow. As well, various issues can arise that are beyond the mother’s control, and therefore the baby has to be formula fed.

For those who want to try to breastfeed their child, take a look at some information about the benefits of breastfeeding.


Colostrum is the first milk produced during pregnancy and just after birth. Known as “liquid gold,” colostrum is a thick liquid that is deep yellow in color and rich in nutrients and antibodies that protect your baby from infections.

Colostrum helps your newborn digestive system grown and function. Because of how tiny a newborn’s stomach is, your baby only gets a tiny amount of the liquid gold at each feeding – but that tiny amount is all he/she needs because of how rich it is!

By the 3rd to 5th day after birth, colostrum will change into mature milk. Milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, protein and water to help baby continue to grow. Although thinner than colostrum, it still contains the nutrients and antibodies you baby needs for healthy growth.

Health Benefits to Breastfeeding

Breastmilk is unique and changes to meet your baby’s needs The cells, hormoones and antibodies found in milk protect from illness. A lot of research has been done to suggest that babies who are breastfed lower the risk of developing a variety of illness, including, but not limited to:

  • Asthma
  • Childhood Leukemia
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Ear Infections
  • Eczema
  • Diarrhea and Vomiting
  • Lower Respiratory Infections
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Health benefits aren’t only for baby; there is also plenty of health benfits for Mom, too!
Breastfeeding a child lowers the risk of:

  • Certain Types of Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Breastfeeding has also been known to help Moms lose their baby-weight, too. Although research is still being done, many women believe that breastfeeding a baby helped them get back to their pre-pregnancy weight quicker.

Other Benefits to Breastfeeding

Although at first breastfeeding can be a little time consuming and difficult, and require a little more effort than breastfeeding, once settled into a good routine life is easier with breastfeeding. Think about it, no measuring formula, no mixing formula in the middle of the night, no bottles or nipples to have to wash, and no running to the store when formula runs out!

Speaking of not having to run to the store, that brings us to the next point – breastfeeding doesn’t cost any money. Did you know, between formula and supplies, it can cost well over $1,500 a year? Imagine how much you could save if you breastfeed! As well, babies who are breastfed may also be sick less often, keeping healthcare costs lower, too.

Lastly, as the most rewarding of all, breastfeeding keeps mother and baby close. Physical, skin-to-skin contact is very important to newborns, as it helps them feel more comforted, secure, and warm,. Physical contact is not only important to baby, but to mom, too. Skin-to-skin contact boosts oxytocin levels, a hormone that helps breastmilk flow and can calm the mother!

Local Family Fun in Johnston County

Johnston County, NCFrom the shoreline to the mountaintops, to the capital city and the sandhills, there is family fun spread throughout North Carolina. Before the kids go back to school in August, Southeast Women’s Center shares some great family fun, local to Johnston County.

If your family is looking for something exciting to do during the last few weeks of summer break, here is a list of attractions close to Clayton and Smithfield, NC.

  • Outdoor Recreation
    A compiled list of Smithfield parks, aquatics center, nature preserves, and ranger-guided educational state forests, including:

    • Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center
    • Smithfield Community Park
    • Legend Park
    • Local Golf Courses
    • Clemmons Educational State Forest
    • Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center
    • Neuse River
    • Flower Hill Natural Areamuddy-the-carolina-mudcat
  • Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center
    Located in Clayton, family fun includes bowling, arcades, billiards, an on-site restaurant, and meeting rooms for private parties. Great for escaping the heat!
  • Go Play Outside Now
    Located in Clayton, fun for the whole family – volleyball courts, laser tag, go karts, man-made beach.
  • howell-movie-theatreHowell Theatre
    A Smithfield theater dating back to 1935, now showing feature films on 4 screens, 2 with stadium seating. Summer specials including a 10am kids deal for $1 movies and snack deals. Kids movies change weekly.
  • Tobacco Farm Life Museum
    Tour the 6,000 foot gallery of exhibits about East Carolina farm life and communities that thrived from farming.
  • Clayton Youth Theatre
    See Clayton Theatre’s summer musical: Disney’s The Little Mermaid performed by local youth! Opening night is July 29 running until August 6.
  • Briarwood Park
    Playground and picnic shelter for summer fun, located in Selma.
  • Creekside Farmcreekside-farm
    Open until August 10 every year! Pick blueberries with the family or buy some ready-picked ones too! Located outside of Selma.
  • Neuse River Walk
    Picnic with the family along the river, go boating, kayaking, or follow the trails on the Neuse River Walk. Located in Smithfield.

Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness

June is National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness month.

Although Congenital Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is the most common virus transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child, many people still aren’t aware of the dangers of this virus.

National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month Facts

Infographic provided by nationalcmv.org


What is Congenital Cytomegalovirus?

Congenital Cytomealovirus, or CMV, is a member of the herpes family and is a common virus found in saliva, urine, tears, blood, and mucus. It is carried by 75% of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children who contract the virus from their peers.

60% of women are at risk for contracting CMV during their pregnancy. Fortunately, of babies born with the virus, 90% are born without symptoms. The remaining 10% have varying abnormalities. As the most common viral cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities, abnormalities include blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and even death.

Like most herpes viruses, once the CMV virus is in someone, it stays there for life. There are 3 varying types of CMV:

  • Primary – First time someone contracts Congenital Cytomealovirus. There won’t be any pre-existing immunity to the virus.
  • Recurrent – When a previous CMV infection that was considered dormant becomes active again. This usually occurs when someone’s immune system is compromised. The good news is if you’ve already been exposed to CMV, your body has already built up antibodies to fight against it. If you are pregnant, these antibodies, along with other immune factors, usually protect the baby from the more serious illnesses.
  • Reinfection – This is when a new infection occurs with a different strain of the virus.  However, this type is so unusual, consequences are unknown at this time.

What are signs of CMV?

Most people who come in contact with the virus won’t experience any symptoms, and may never know they were ever infected. For those who do, varying signs can occur, from mild illness to common cold-like symptoms. Here’s a list of varying symptoms that could occur:

  • Fatigue
  • High/Prolonged Fever
  • Swollen Glands/Swelling of Lymph Nodes
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle/Joint Aches and Stiffness
  • Night Sweats
  • Weakness
  • General Discomfort, Feeling Ill or Uneasy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss

Unfortunately, these are all symptoms of other common illnesses, so one may never know its due to contracting the Congenital Cytomegalovirus. CMV is typically harmless to the general population; however, for people with weakened immune systems, the virus can cause serious problems. Anyone who has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, has had chemothreapy or organ transplant(s), or takes medications such as glucocorticoids, cytostatics, antibodies, and drugs acting on immunophilins, should be extra cautious of contracting the CMV virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 50-80% of people in the United States have had a Congenital Cytomegalovirus infection by the time they reach 40 years old.

How can I contract CMV?

The virus is spread from one person to another, typically through bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, and breast milk. The most common is contact with the saliva or urine of young children, especially those who are around or work with young children such as mothers of young children, people who work at daycares, preschool teachers, nurses, and therapists.

How do you prevent CMV?

Standard hygiene procedures will significantly reduce one’s chances of coming in contact with the CMV virus. Basic prevention measures include:

  • Frequent hand washing, especially after changing diapers, feeding a child, handling a child’s toy, or wiping the mouth or nose of a child.
  • Avoid kissing young children on the mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food, towels, or utensils with small children.
  • Wearing protection for sexual intercourse, as contact with an someone infected with CMV, although not common, is possible.

Talk to a Doctor

If you have concerns about CMV, talk to your doctor. A blood sample drawn for a CMV IgG and IgM antibody tests can let you know if you have the virus. If you have any questions or concerns, call us or schedule an appointment with your Southeast Women’s Center doctor today.

Teen Pregnancy

1 in 4.

That’s the statistic of teen girls who become pregnant at least once by age 20.

National Teen Pregnancy Awareness MonthMay is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, so Southeast Women’s Center wants to offer facts, information, and advice regarding teen pregnancy.

According to the CDC, in 2014, there was a total of 249,078 babies born to women aged 15–19 years, which is a birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women. Although the percentage of pregnant teens is declining lower and lower each year, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States is significantly higher than in other western industrialized nations.

Statistics for Teenage Pregnancy

  • Nearly 1,700 teens aged 15-17 give birth every week
  • Around 77% percent of teenage pregnancies are unplanned
  • 15% of teen pregnancies end in miscarriage
  • 30% of teenage pregnancies end in abortion
  • Only 38% of teen mothers age 15-17 earn a high school diploma
  • 89% of teenage parents are unmarried
  • 80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare
  • Daughters of teen mothers are 22% more likely than their peers to become teen mothers

Source: Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., & Osterman, M. J. K. S.C., & Mathews, T.J (2015). Births: Final data for 2014. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Believe it or not, parental relationships is one of the biggest influences on whether or not a teen becomes sexually active, and as a consequence becomes pregnant. Parents rank high on the list of people to trust to give accurate information about birth control and sex. If you’re a parent, here are a few tips to help prevent teenage pregnancy among your kids:

  • Be open to have the sex talk with your teen. As long as your teen feels they can trust you, you’re likely to be the first person they will come to with questions regarding sex and birth control. Openly talking about sex in an age-appropriate manner are fundamentals to having your teen behave responsibly. Having “the talk” once, and then avoiding any and all further conversation is just a recipe for disaster. Openly talking about how you feel about sexual activity, the importance of birth control if sexually active, and the meaning of sexual relationships are important. Also, make sure to let them talk, too. Nobody likes to be lectured.
  • Be a parent, not just a friend. Even though the above tip is about being open and honest, as a parent you still have an obligation to, well, parent. Establishing rules and behavioral standards are part of that responsibility. Most teens actually prefer to know what is expected of them when it comes to their behavior, so supervise and establish said expectations. Set a reasononable curfew, get to know your teen’s friends, and make the effort to meet their friend’s parents. Setting common and reasonable expectations will allow for your teenager to respect your parental role, but still being comfortable enough to come to you about life’s questions.
  • Know what your teens are doing. In today’s society, messages about sex, pregnancy, and starting families young are everywhere, from books to tv shows, to the internet and music. Don’t be afraid to engage with your teen about what he/she thinks and whether or not they feel as thought what is being depicted is realistic.
  • Discourage serious dating. Steady relationships lead to the “next level,” which in turn can lead to pregnancy. Encourage casual dating a variety of people, which will help cut the risk. As well, take a stand against your daughter dating older men, or your son dating younger girls. Dating older, more experienced, people can lead to insecurities and peer pressure to do things one may not necessarily be ready for.
  • Remind them to live life. Encourage the importance of education, furthering studies after high school, and seeing the world. Many teenagers think that life is about starting a family early, and that doing so is their only option for life after high school. Motivate them to get involved with an extra-curricular or activity and let them see there is a whole world to see before starting a family.

Help spread awareness and talk to your teen today! If you or your teen need to seek medical advice involving the above, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Gynecology Visit: What To Expect

When scheduling an appointment for an annual Gynecology exam, many women are unsure about what to expect. Southeast Women’s Center shares some basic information on the services a Gynecologist provides.

Annual Gynecology Exam

gynecologyCome with Questions
During an annual exam, women should visit their GYN practice with a list of questions that they would like answered. If there are any concerns related to sexual functioning, pain, incontinence, fertility or other such issues, this is the time to address them. A reputable Gynecologist will take the time to answer these questions thoroughly, but they may not be able to treat you at the same visit – it depends on the complexity of the condition.

Expect a Pap Smear
In addition to a question and answer period, a woman should expect to undergo a Pap smear. This is a test conducted to check for Cervical Cancer and other such concerns. Women should plan on having a Pap smear on an annual basis. The Pap smear consists of a simple swab of the cervix and vaginal area. The swab is then used to look for any abnormal cellular growth that could be an indication of pre-cancerous growths. The procedure is painless, and it is usually complete in a matter of minutes.

Pelvic and Breast Examinations
Alongside a Pap smear, you should expect a pelvic examination and clinical breast examination depending on age. Provided is a link to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations on the Well-Woman Visit (annual exam).

Good Time for STD Testing
In addition to conducting a Pap smear, pelvic examination and breast examination, annual Gynecology visits is a good time to test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), should there be any concerns with current or previous partners. Most tests require a simple blood draw, but some can be conducted with a test similar to a Pap smear or even a urinalysis. A doctor should offer all of these tests on an annual basis, and tests should especially be offered to any women who are sexually active.

Discuss Birth Control Options
Finally, an annual Gynecology visit is the perfect time to discuss birth control options. In today’s society, a woman has many choices when it comes to birth control. There are pills that can be taken daily, patches that can be replaced weekly, rings that can be inserted monthly and shots that last for several months.

In addition, women can choose more permanent options such as IUDs, Essure or having their tubes tied if a woman’s situation warrants longer lasting birth control protection. The right choice for any given women is based on many things, including her desire to have children in the future and her current state of health. Having an open, honest discussion with a Gynecologist is the best way to determine the best birth control option.

Establishing a Relationship
Establishing a relationship with a reputable Gynecology practice, such as Southeast Women’s Center, is important for many reasons. Women should make a point of visiting their chosen practice on an annual basis for important testing and consultations about health concerns, reproduction and overall health and wellness.

All women need to establish a relationship with a reputable Gynecologist. This is important not only during child bearing years, but throughout a woman’s lifespan.

Contact us today to schedule your annual Gynecology appointment!

Endometriosis Awareness

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the endometrium (lining inside the uterus) is found outside the uterus on other parts of the body, most commonly in the pelvic cavity. It affects 176 million women worldwide, usually during reproductive years. Currently, there is no cure for Endometriosis.

“What is Endometriosis” by Endometriosis Foundation of America (www.endofound.org)

Although it affects 1 in 10 women worldwide, there is still a lack of Endometriosis awareness around the world.

“One of the most critical challenges facing the endometriosis community is a lack of factual awareness; a challenge which keeps us largely mired in myths, misinformation, lengthy delays in diagnosis, poor treatments and an incredible lack of support.”(centerforendometriosiscare.com)

March_Endometriosis_AwarenessMarch is National Endometriosis Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to debunk some myths and offer correct facts and general information concerning this incurable condition.

Cause and Diagnosis

  • Currently, no one specific cause has been identified. Multiple theories exist, including the high likelihood that certain genes predispose women to develop the condition; however, further research is necessary to fully understand the genetic characteristics of endometriosis.
  • Endometriosis is not contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person through contact.
  • Research shows endometriosis can be present during fetal development. Autopsies have been performed on infants and have shown evidence of endometriosis. The condition can be easily activated at puberty when estrogen levels increase in the body.
  • Endometriosis is hard to diagnose. On average, it takes around 10 years from the onset of symptoms to be accurately diagnosed.
  • Many endometriosis patients are misdiagnosed, often multiple times, leading to treatment that is unnecessary and inappropriate.
  • Evidence is not visible on CTs, MRIs, or ultrasounds. Pelvic exams can only indicate a high suspicion of endometriosis, not confirm it.
  • The only definitive way to know is via laparoscopy. There is no simple test using blood or urine that can confirm it.


  • Endometriosis affects every woman differently. There’s no one treatment that will work for everyone. Discuss your specific symptoms and treatment options with your doctor.
  • Endometriosis is not just about painful periods and infertility. Symptoms vary depending on where lesions are growing. There are many other symptoms, including: chronic pelvic pain, severe cramping, abnormal bleeding or periods lasting longer than 7 days, heavy menstrual flow, painful ovulation, pain during/after sex, bowel or urinary disorders, nausea or vomiting, and fatigue.
  • Pelvic pain is the most common pain. Although it typically coincides with menstruation, some women may have symptoms throughout their entire cycle.

Curability + Treatment

  • There is no cure for endometriosis. It’s not a rare condition, as it affects 10% of reproductive-aged women.
  • Having a Hysterectomy is not a definitive cure for endometriosis. In fact, most women who undergo a hysterectomy will still experience pain.
  • There are three main treatments for endometriosis: surgery, hormones and pain management.
  • Not all endometriosis surgery is created equal. Laparoscopic excision is the best surgery to have. Ablation and Cauterization only remove tissue on the surface, but neglect tissue growing beneath; therefore, neither are effective long-term.
  • Endometriosis needs oestrogen to grow. Hormonal treatments that slow down or stop the production of oestrogen are therefore commonly used to treat it. These include low-dose oral contraceptive pill, progestins, pain killers (NSAIDs)GnRH-therapy such as Lupron, and the Mirena IUD (hormonal, not copper).
  • Pregnancy is not a cure for endometriosis. Much like hormonal drug treatments, pregnancy will supress the symptoms, but does not cure the condition itself.


  • Pregnancy is not a cure for endometriosis. People usually experience a reduction of symptoms during pregnancy because of the hormone increase (specifically progesterone) in the body, but it does not cure the condition.
  • Getting pregnant and/or having a kid(s) in your early 20’s does not cause endometriosis. Delaying pregnancy is not a cause of endometriosis, either. For a full review on what can cause the condition, please revisit the Cause & Diagnosis facts above.
  • Having endometriosis does not equal infertility. Between 30% and 40% of women with endometriosis may not be able to have children; however, many women have become pregnant naturally or with reproductive assistance.
  • If you want to have children in the future, discuss fertility with your doctor before surgery. In some cases, surgery can help women become pregnant naturally, even if they do suffer from endometriosis. However, surgery on your ovaries can also impair their function, making it harder to get pregnant.

If you have symptoms of Endometriosis and want to get a better opinion, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today and schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Gynecologists.


Zika Virus: Information You Need Now

Zika Virus has been in the Top Stories this month.

Zika VirusWith it being International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, we thought the Zika Virus also made for a very important topic of discussion on our blog.

Dr. Turlington and the rest of the staff at Southeast Women’s Center want to make certain our patients have all their questions answered on this devastating virus. If the following doesn’t answer all of the questions you have, please do not hesitate to contact us to get your questions answered. We are here for you!

What is Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a transmitted disease. The most common way it is transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people fully recover from Zika virus without severe complications and severe illness or death are extremely rare. However, Zika virus can be dangerous for babies still in the womb. Investigations are still being made to determine the link between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder where the immune system attacks the nervous system.

Why Should Pregnant Women Be On Alert?

When a pregnant woman becomes infected with Zika virus, the virus can also infect the unborn baby. Health experts believe there is a link between Zika virus and microcephaly, a neurological condition in which the circumference of the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing. Microcephaly can be associated with severe developmental issues, and, in rare instances, death. The risk is highest to the unborn child when the mother is infected during the first trimester.

The possible link between Zika virus and microcephaly was first discovered in Brazil, when the number of cases of Zika and babies with microcephaly spiked around the same time. Zika infections in Brazil had been previously rare and a total of only about 150 cases of microcephaly were reported annually up until the outbreak in late 2015. Since the outbreak, an estimated 1.5 million Brazilians have been infected with Zika virus and more than 4,200 cases of microcephaly were reported between October 2015-January 2016.

Research has not only found Zika in the brain of babies with microcephaly whose mothers contracted Zika during pregancy, but in the saliva, blood, and urine of mothers who were born with microcephaly as well. In a small study, Zika antibodies were found in the amniotic fluid of two pregnant women, suggesting Zika is able to cross the placenta. These women tested negative for the virus in their blood and urine, but their babies were born with microcephaly; however, researchers stress this doesn’t confirm the link between the virus and microcephaly.

The connection is still being tested an more research is needed to better understand the link between the two.

What are Warning Signs and Symptoms of Zika Virus?

Common symptoms include fever, rash, headaches, muscle and joint pain, red eyes, and pain behind the eyes. However, only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus actually exhibit symptoms. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t appear right away. This is why people who have traveled to Zika-infected areas need to be extra pre-cautious, as they may not become sick until after they return home.

What Areas Have Zika Virus Infected?

ALthough Zika virus was first identified in Africa in 1947, very few cases were documented and therefore it was considered a rare disease until 2007, when there was an outbreak in Micronesia. In May 2015, the virus began to rapidly spread in Brazil and throughout South America. According to the World Health Organizaion, as many as 4+ million people could be infected in Americas within the next year.

As of February 9, 2016, travel warnings have been issued by the CDC after finding active transmission cases to the following countries and territories:

  • American Samoa
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. territory
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Saint Martin
  • Samoa
  • Suriname
  • Tonga
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela

The CDC advises that American women who are expecting, as well as those hoping to become pregnant, shouldn’t travel to these countries because of the prevalence of Zika virus.

Has Zika Virus Entered the United States?

Although cases of ZIka have been reported in the continental United States, these are limited to people who recently traveled to infected countries. However, there has been confirmed cases in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Health experts are concerned that if an infected person is bitten by a mosquito here, that mosquito — which is now carrying the virus — could infect someone else. It is anticipated that Zika virus will spread to all but two countries in the Americas — Canada and Chili — because Aedes mosquitos, who transmit the virus via their bites, are not found in either of the two.

For a continuously updated list on Zika virus reports in the United States, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html.

Why is Zika Virus Spreading So Quickly?

There are two reasons Zika virus is spreading at such an alarming rate. First, Aedes mosquitoes (the main transmitter of the virus, as mentioned above) are present in all the regions countries (with the exception of Canada and Chili). Second, most people in the Americas have a lack of immunity to the virus because they have not been previously exposed. Without immunity, a new virus has the ability to spread quickly.

What if My Partner Has Traveled To a Zika-Affected Area Recently?

According to experts, it is possible for Zika Virus to be sexually transmitted. Currently, researchers are unsure how long the virus can stay in a man’s semen, so the CDC recommends talk to your doctor before having sex, and use a condom for the duration of your pregnancy.

What Tests and Tretments are Available?

If you think you have been exposed to Zika virus, please see your doctor, regardless if you are currently experiencing symptoms or not. Your doctor can administer a blood test to detect Zika virus. With the rising concern of the virus, tests are readily available and their results are ready fast.

Is There Currently a Vaccine for Zika Virus?

There is currently no vaccine for Zika virus, although efforts are currently being made. However, due to time and money contraints, experts don’t expect a readily available vaccine in the immediate future.

How can Zika Virus Be Prevented During Pregnancy?

Since there is currently no vaccine available, the best approach is prevention. If possible, try to avoid traveling to countries and regions that are currently affected with the virus.

If you must travel to affected countries, be smart. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks (permethrin-treated, if possible). Stay inside between sunrise and sunset, which are peak mosquito hours. Use a/c inside rather than keeping windows open, especially if windows have no screens. Use mosquito repellent according to the label’s directions on all exposed skin.

Top Baby Names of 2016

Hello and Happy New Year!

At Southeast Women’s Center, we’re in the business of babies. So what better way to start the new year than to report the predicted top baby names of 2016? We’ve researched trends and compiled a list from Nameberry, Baby Center and the 2015 Social Security Administration. Trending seems to be both old-fashioned names and ones influenced by pop-culture.

Here are the predictions:

Top Baby Names of 2016


Boy Names

  • Alexander: Meaning “defender of men.” Considering Alexander has been in the top 25 baby boy names since 1991, it’s safe to say we will see it on the 2016 popularity list as well.
  • Atticus: Meaning “Man of Attica,” this baby name topped Nameberry’s list for most popular baby names of 2015. We’re feeling pretty confident it will make this year’s list, too.
  • Cameron: Meaning “crooked or bent nose,” We can only guess this gender neutral name is continually a favorite due to the popularity of the t.v. series, Modern Family.
  • Carter: Meaning “transporter of goods by cart,” it translates to a strong name for a baby boy.
  • Colton: Meaning “from the coal” or “dark town.” Colton is a wonderful name, as is it’s shortened version, Colt!
  • Ethan: Meaning “solid, enduring,” A name that means firm or strong, this is a great name for a little boy.
  • Evan: Meaning “the Lord is gracious.” A classic yet popular name that we think will rise on the list for 2016.
  • Gale: Meaning “jovial”. Typically a feminine name, this name is predicted to rise on the list of names for boys due to the popularity of the Hunger Games series.
  • Jacob: Meaning “holder of the heel” or “supplanter,” this classic name has consistently gained popularity since the Twilight series.
  • Jackson/Jaxon: Meaning “God has been gracious; has shown favor.” “Jackson” is the traditional way to spell the name and has been a favorite name for many years, but “Jaxon” has been gaining a lot of popularity in the last few years.
  • Kingston: Meaning “king’s town.” Popularity may or may not be due to the fact that this is the name of Gwen Stefani’s son, but regardless, we seeing this being quite the popular name this year.
  • Mason: Meaning “stoneworker,”, this name has skyrocketed as a popular baby name. Becoming popular with celebrities and television shows, it’s safe to say it will continue to stay on the top of the list in 2016.
  • Liam: Meaning “strong-willed warrior,” this name has been rising on the charts since 2012. Considering this name tops the chart not only in the U.S., but in Ireland and Sweden as well, we’re confident it’s a name that’s not going anywhere.
  • Logan: Meaning “small hollow,” this gender neutral name has been quite popular for many decades.
  • Luke: Meaning “man from Lucania.” Two words that will probably play a big role with the influx of this name: Star Wars.
  • Michael: Meaning “who is like God?” this classic name has continued to top the charts for almost half a century.
  • Noah: Meaning “rest” or “comfort,” this name was on the popular lists of 2015 and believe it will stay on the top in 2016 as well.
  • Owen: Meaning “young warrior,” “well born,” or “noble,” this name is hard not to love!
  • Rhett: Meaning “advice,” we imagine this name could climb the charts and become one you’lll hear more often in 2016.
  • William: Meaning “ protection,” this classic name continues to be on the top of the popularity list. It’s a great name that offers lots of nicknames as well!

Girl Names:

  • Abigail: Meaning “father’s joy,” this lovely name seems to be gaining popularity.
  • Amelia: Meaning “work,” this sweet little girl name has been on the top five most popular names for the past couple of years.
  • Ava: Meaning “life,” this simple, classic name will likely still top the charts next year.
  • Charlotte: Meaning “free man,” this feminine version of Charles was popular in 2015 partly due to the naming of the Royal Baby. We believe it will stay on the top of the charts for 2016, too.
  • Cora: Meaning“maiden,” this is a lovely Greek vintage name.
  • Olivia: Meaning “twelfth night,”in Shakespearean, this name was the #2 spot both 2014 and 2015. We’re confident it will top the charts this year, too.
  • Ella: Meaning “all” Ella is a sweet and simple name for your little baby girl.
  • Emily: Meaning “industrious” or “striving,,” Emily is a name that has topped many name charts.
  • Emma: Meaning “whole” or “universal,” this simple and pretty name is a great choice for your little girl.
  • Gale: Meaning “jovial,” this name also made the list for boys.This name has been gaining popularity, probably because of the Hunger Games series.
  • Isabella: Meaning “devoted to God,” this name rose to the top, probably because of the Twilight series character, Bella. We don’t anticipate it leaving the top of the charts in 2016.
  • Isla: Meaning “island,” this is an elegant name that seems to be gaining popularity.
  • James: Meaning “supplanter,” and being a top name for a boy, James is quickly gaining popularity for girls as well — probably thanks to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who named their daughter James.
  • Liliana: Meaning “flower,” or specifically “lily flower,” this name is perfect for your little blooming baby girl.
  • Lucy: Meaning “light,” Lucy is a classic, feminine name.
  • Madison: Meaning “son of Maud,” this is a great gender-neutral name that has been gaining popularity.
  • Mia: Meaning “mine,” this is another classic name.
  • Penelope: Meaning “weaver,” this name has gained a lot of popularity, probably due to celebrities.
  • Sofia/Sophia: Meaning “wisdom,” this is a popular, feminine name that is proving to be on the chart topper for years to come. Though “Sophia” is the most popular spelling, there has been quite a rise with “Sofia.”
  • Violet: Meaning “purple,” this feminine name is a sweet name for your little girl.

Baby’s First Christmas Ideas

Just like your baby’s first [insert occasion here], you want to make the most for their first Christmas. To help make the holidays memorable, the staff at Southeast Women’s Center has compiled a list of 12 tips, advice, and ideas to cherish your baby’s first.
Baby First Christmas Ideas

Visit with Santa

Your baby won’t know who the big guy is yet, but you sure do. A visit with Santa is something you’ll remember, and makes a great photo op, which brings us to our next point…

Great Photo Opportunities

A visit with Santa, a staged scene under the tree wrapped in tinsel, stuffed in a big stocking with a Santa hat – creative photo ideas are way too easy this time of year! Take advantage of the fact that no matter what you decide to do, with a cute little baby, no idea is too cheesy or silly. Tis’ the season of ugly sweaters and silly looking hats!

Go All Out on Holiday Cards

Admit it-you love showing off your bundle of joy just as much as others like seeing him or her. The holiday season is a perfect time of year for great photo opportunities (see tip above), so why not take advantage of it and go jingles bells-to-the-wall with your holiday card? Holiday cards are the perfect excuse to show off your baby’s adorableness.

Integrate Family Traditions

Family traditions are all part of the holiday season. We all probably had them growing up. Although baby may not be able to help with certain things, or even remember being a part of family rituals, their first Christmas is the best time to start. If nothing else, it is another good photo op.

Start New Family Traditions

We all have traditions that have been passed down from generations, but now is the time to also start your own. “Do it Yourself,” or, “DIY” are great crafty fun that could lead to a start of a tradition. See the next two tips below.

Stocking for Baby

DIY for baby’s first stocking and have theirs stand out on the mantel around all the others. Or, start a tradition and design/decorate your individual stockings from year-to-year!

Keepsake Ornament

Whether you purchase one at the store or are extra creative and want another DIY project, keepsake ornaments are a staple of Christmas time, as they are memories that get pulled out every season. If it’s not a tradition already, start one by getting/making a personalized ornament year after year.

Help Baby Experience the Holidays Through Senses

Baby senses are on overdrive. That’s how they process the world. Let him or her experience all that is Christmas with letting their senses go wild! Touch and smell a clipping from a real tree. Excite their sight with all the colors and sparkle decorations. Jingle bells and listen to holiday music. Taste special holiday foods, if he or she is old enough to do so. Let them experience the magic of Christmas. (makes great photo ops!)

Splurge on Christmas PJs

Yeah, your baby can only wear Christmas PJs for a month, but doesn’t the cuteness just pay for itself? Christmas PJs make yet another great photo op and if they are too cute to part ways with after the holiday, you can always save them for baby #2. Just saying.

Visit Around Town

Family QT is a must during the holidays. Spend the day, or weekend, , exploring your own neighborhood. Bundle up baby and take a stroll. Check out your neighbor’s decor or downtown shop displays. It’s always a good idea to take time to step away from the holiday hustle and enjoy the view. It’s also great for baby, as it’s another way to get senses flowing and-you guessed it-photo opportunities!

Don’t Stress Yourself (or Baby!)

The last thing you want is cranky baby during the holidays, so make sure there is plenty of downtime for naps and playtime. If you are travelling to visit relatives this holiday season, don’t go overboard and pack all of baby’s changing table. Pack enough diapers to last you one change/hour + wipes. Everything else can be bought at your destination, and laundry can be done where you’re staying. Happy Holidays start with a happy baby.

Make a Christmas Time Capsule

When the holiday is all said and done, cherish it by buying or making a DIY keepsake box and fill it with things like baby’s first Christmas cards, wrapping paper they tore, all the photos, etc. It makes a great treasure to find in the years to come!

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