Women Physicians
GYN Medical Group
Care of Women by Women


Newsletter Index -- October 1, 2007

Final Results in Relay For Life of Mountain View

Talk on Urinary Leakage

Preparing For Pregnancy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Flu Season is Coming -- Wash Your Hands!!!


Final Results in Relay for Life

The final numbers are now in!  Not only did our team have a lot of fun, but we made a significant contribution to the fight against cancer.  Women Physicians Ob-Gyn raised $8,530, the most collected by any single Mountain View team.  Overall, the Mountain View Relay for Life raised $42,208.13, almost a 20% increase from the year before.

We are grateful for the participation of so many of our patients and their families in this event.  We plan to do it again the first week-end in June next year.  Any of you that have been touched by cancer (and haven’t we all?) are invited to join our team.  Get your walking shoes ready.  We’ll send a reminder with more information in our April newsletter next year.  

Talk on Urinary Leakage

Do you suffer from embarrassing urinary leakage?  Over 30% of women have problems with incontinence, but are often reluctant to bring it up to their doctors and seek treatment. 

Dr. Janet Pulskamp will be giving a free informational talk on this subject at Women Physicians Ob–Gyn Medical Office on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 beginning at 6:30pm.  This is a great opportunity to get to hear about the different types of incontinence and learn what can be done to help you.  Dr. Pulskamp is our WPMG expert in this area and will leave time to answer your questions.  She has been specially trained in urodynamics, a technique to diagnose the exact causes of incontinence, as well as the suburethral sling procedure, an innovative new way of treating leakage that occurs with cough or sneeze.

If you would like to attend this talk or have friends or family who would be interested, please RSVP to our office at 650-988-7550 or e-mail us at info@elcaminoobgyn.com.  Remember that this e-mail cannot be used for medical advice as it is not a secure e-mail.  

Preparing for Pregnancy

Planning for Pregnancy – 7 Things You Need to Know


Each year in the U.S., more that 10% of girls and women between the ages of 15-44 will become pregnant.  Almost half of these pregnancies are unplanned.  We don’t want yours to be one of these.


If you want to maximize your chance for a healthy pregnancy, there are several topics you need to consider before you even start trying to conceive.  We strongly recommend scheduling a pre-pregnancy consultation with your WPMG obstetrician to review this information and to discuss any concerns you may have.


Remember that once you do conceive, it will likely be 2-4 weeks before you know that you are pregnant.  In addition, you usually won’t have your first visit with your obstetrician until 5-7 weeks after conception.  So the optimal time to evaluate issues that may affect your pregnancy is before that sperm and egg have any chance of meeting.


 1. Maximizing Your Fertility

It’s important to understand when in your menstrual cycle you are most fertile and how to time intercourse to increase your odds of getting pregnant.


It is normal to take up to12 months of trying to get pregnant before actually conceiving.  Your chance of conceiving in any given cycle depends on your age, with a maximum of about 25% per cycle for a woman in her early 20’s. This percentage decreases as a woman ages.


Other risk factors which may increase your difficulty in getting pregnant include:  an abnormal cycle length  (less than 23 or more than 35 days) a history of a Chlamydia infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); a history of 3 or more miscarriages; maternal age 35 years or older.


 2. Your Medical History

Are you up to date on your immunizations?  If you need a vaccination against chicken pox or rubella (German measles), you’ll need to get these at least one month before trying to get pregnant.  Both you and your husband should also receive a pertussis booster with a vaccine called Tdap which also includes a tetanus and diphtheria booster.


Do you take any medications on a regular basis?  It is critical that you let your other doctors know when you’re considering getting pregnant. You may need adjustments in the medicines you are taking.  But keep in mind that many medications can safely be taken in pregnancy.  Never make a change in your medication without consulting your physician.


You may need to have your chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, asthma, thyroid problems, depression/anxiety just to name a few) under better control before you conceive.  In addition, you may need special tests done to assess your health before you stop using your birth control method. 


A good example of how a chronic illness can affect a pregnancy outcome is diabetes. It is crucial that a diabetic woman have normal blood sugars for at least three months before conception.  High blood sugars, even before conception, can significantly increase the risk that her baby will have major birth defects.


 3. Your Family/Genetic History

With any pregnancy, there is a 2-3 % chance that the fetus will have some kind of birth defect (ranging from minor to major.)  Most birth defects are not inherited.  However, some conditions in the family can be passed on to your child.  That’s why it’s important that you have a chance to review your family history with your obstetrician.


4. Nutrition

This is a good time to evaluate the healthiness, or not, of your diet.  Do you have a balanced diet?  Are you underweight/overweight?  Do you have adequate calcium in your diet?  Do you have an eating disorder (bulimia/anorexia)? Do you have any food allergies?


At least one month before you’re ready to start trying to conceive, you should start taking a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin daily. A critical nutrient in this is folic acid.  Taking a minimum of  0.4 mg per day decreases the likelihood of certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.


 5. Exercise Modifications

We hope that you’ll stay active during your pregnancy.  But you may need to adjust your type of exercise so that it is low impact/non-contact.  You’ll also need to refrain from using the sauna/hot tub/jacuzzi. 



6. Lifestyle/Habits

If you smoke, stop now.  Thinking about having a baby is a great motivator to give up those cigarettes once and for all.  Same goes for any street drug use.  Alcohol is included here as well.   Your baby will be much healthier if not exposed to any of these substances during pregnancy.


7. Environmental Considerations

For you cat owners, cleaning the litter box now needs to be on someone else’s chore list, to minimize your risk of an infection that could harm a fetus.  For similar reasons, it’s best to wear gloves when you garden in your yard.


This is just a brief review of the important topics that would be discussed in more detail at your pre-conception counseling appointment.  If you are thinking about getting pregnant within the next 6 months, get that appointment scheduled.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


  1) Keep up to date with your mammograms

  2) Have a regular breast exams with your physician

  3) Be aware of any changes or lumps in your breasts

  4) Make sure all your friends and family members keep up with their breast health as well.

      If you or a loved one has been touched by breast cancer, you may also be interested in attending the Community Breast Health Project’s 4th annual Breast Cancer Conference on Saturday, November 3, 2007, 8:00 am - 4:35 pm at the beautiful Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto.  You can register by calling CBHP at (650) 326-6686 or register online! For more information, go to http://www.cbhp.org/wiki/CBHP'S_4th_Annual_Breast_Cancer_Conference

And you can help fund mammograms for those in need by clicking on the website: http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces;jsessionid=9AF88B75BFFED20E4E95E9DC9840FE97.ctgProd05


Flu Season is Coming!

                          Wash Your Hands!!!!

With the advent of flu season, we should all become more aware of what we can do to stop the spread of germs.

One way to stop the spread is for everyone to commit to get a flu shot, especially since there are adequate supplies of vaccine this year.  Even though you may not worry about coming down with significant symptoms yourself, you could spread it on a shopping cart to a little old lady who has not been vaccinated or to the mother of a baby whose defenses may not be as strong.

Another important technique is washing hands.  This will not only prevent the spread of influenza virus, but also Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and the Avian flu.  The medical community is increasingly concerned about the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics.  It is best if we can prevent infections from being spread in the first place rather than being in the difficult position of trying to treat a bacteria that is resistant to all of our antibiotics.

What to use for Handwashing

Don’t be fooled into buying an antibacterial soap or product, thinking it may be safer and more effective.  The best defense against germs is plain soap and water for 20 seconds. If you are on the go, then the CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand rubs.  Alcohol has an immediate effect of breaking down the cell wall of the bacteria and thus does not encourage resistant strains.  

What NOT to use for Handwashing

Many soaps or products labeled as “antibacterial” contain triclosan, a chemical ingredient with many adverse effects.  It is toxic to fish and frogs and bioaccumulates in the tissues of fish and humans.  It is even found in the breast milk of mothers who use products containing it.  Triclosan forms chloroform when mixed with chlorine-treated tap water.  It photodegrades into a carcinogen — dioxin — when exposed to UV light.  It also can encourage bacterial resistance because it interferes with specific bacterial enzymes rather than outright killing the bacteria, thus encouraging the bacteria to develop new enzymes.

Another common antibacterial product is triclocarban (TCC).  It is a known carcinogen and once we flush it down the drain, about 75% of TCC doesn’t break down.  TCC and triclosan are then either reused in “recycled water” which goes to our rivers and streams, or they become more toxic additives to sewage sludge, which is then legally put on our crops.  A recent study found that TCC contaminated 60% of US streams and triclosan was found in 57%.

The FDA and the AMA have both stated that soaps and lotions that include antibacterial agents have “no added benefit” over ordinary soap and water.  Furthermore, they may contribute to resistant forms of bacteria and to the contamination of our environment.

For more information on the contents for a wide variety of home products, go to



El Camino Women's Medical Group provides comprehensive Obstetric & Gynecologic care for patients throughout the Bay Area. Minimally invasive surgery, infertility, women's mental health, and the MonaLisa Touch are just a few of the specialized services we offer.
The MonaLisa Touch treatment is available at El Camino Women's Medical Group. Call the office (650-396-8110) or email Shar (Shar@ElCaminoWomen.com) for more information.
Serving Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Burlingame, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Campbell, San Jose, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley, Milpitas, South Bay, East Bay, North Bay.
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