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Health Checkups Every Mom Need

by Katlyn Joy | November 3, 2014 7:34 AM
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When you become a mother, it is understood that you come last in the priority list. It's like a mother's badge of honor. However, that's a bit of martyrdom that can come at a hefty price, and if you neglect your health, your whole family suffers. So do yourself and your family a favor and take care of yourself.

While it may seem nearly impossible, try to get a good night's sleep every night. Eat healthy and don't skip breakfast. Be sure to exercise most days of the week, even if you have to split the sessions into 10-minute segments around laundry or errands. Also, and this is an important one, do not forget your health checkups. What types of health screenings you get and when depends on your individual health profile and your age.

Health Screening Guidelines

The National Institutes of Health recommend that women go for periodic doctor's visits, even if you are well, just to make sure you are healthy. At these medical appointments, be sure to share relevant medical history including family medical history. You can get guidance on how to get and stay healthy, from diet to exercise, to stopping smoking. You should have your weight, blood pressure and general vital stats checked. You may have a pelvic exam complete with a PAP test for cervical cancer.

Here are some specific screenings or tests you should get when in this age range:

Blood pressure.

This should be checked every two years, and more often if it seems elevated on any check. The systolic, or top number should be 120 and 139. The diastolic, or bottom number, should be below 90.

Cholesterol screening.

This needs done in this age range if you have risk factors for heart disease, and will be repeated if any levels seem problematic. Past 44 years of age, you get this done every 5 years if you get normal results; more often if you have elevated numbers.

Diabetes screening.

If you have a BMI above 25 and any other risk factors for diabetes, you should get tested. Having a BMI in that range indicates you are overweight and at risk for developing the disease. Also, if your blood pressure is over 135/80 you should be screened. Past 44, you need this done every 3 years.

Dental and vision exams need to be done regularly.

Teeth need annual visits, while eyes should be check at least every 2 years. Once a woman is 40, she may need a vision exam every year, if she has any family history of glaucoma or other serious eye issues.

Immunizations.

Make certain you don't have any missing shots in your health record. Get a flu shot yearly, and perhaps a pneumonia shot if your doctor recommends it. You need a tetanus-diphtheria booster every ten years. You won't get a shingles immunization until you are 60, however.

Physicals.

You need two good, thorough physicals in your 20s and 30s. After 40, you need one every year or two.

Breast health.

There is no consensus on monthly self breast exams, so discuss this with your physician. You will probably get checked at your physicals. Mammograms are not recommended until age 40, at which time you'll usually have one every year or two.

Pap Smears

Pap smears should be done every 3 years, unless you have an abnormal result which requires more frequent testing for a time period. If you get both a PAP and an HPV test, you can do the test every 5 years, however.

Skin checks.

You should have an annual check of your skin for skin cancer.

Other check up questions.

Your doctor may do a screening question or questionnaire about depression, anxiety or domestic violence. You will be counseled about weight issues if applicable, as well as lifestyle issues such as smoking or alcohol. You may need further tests depending on your health needs and family history.

Taking care of yourself is important, but when you are a mother, there is so much more at stake. Be good to your family by being good to yourself!

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