National Women's Health Week 2018


by Dr. JJ Levenstein

May 13 - 19 we celebrated National Women's Health Week.
For “mature” women like myself, it’s a reminder to schedule timely Pap smears and physical exams, get a mammogram, make sure exercise and load bearing is part of daily life for osteoporosis prevention, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
If you’re in your 20s and 30s, this is not your primary daily focus…
UNTIL becoming pregnant is a priority. Then it’s important to make sure you are adequately prepared for this most important time of your life:
  • Confirm that your vaccinations are up to date, especially Pertussis and Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccines, as well as Hepatitis A and B.
  • Get a general physical examination including a pelvic exam, Pap smear, a thorough breast exam, and STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Adopt and commit to a healthier diet to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, premature birth, or exposing your baby to drugs or alcohol.
  • Get a lead test before pregnancy, especially if you recently immigrated to the US, live near industry, live with someone who might be lead exposed, had an elevated blood lead in the past, or are actively renovating a property built before 1978. Ask your OB/GYN about other risk factors. Eliminating exposure to lead BEFORE getting pregnant may reduce your risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, or worse yet, a baby suffering from intrauterine neurologic damage courtesy of lead crossing the placenta.
  • Take stock of your emotional health – partner or family strife adds stress and risk to the new baby. Work actively on hot spots in relationships to provide a more solid emotional foundation for baby.
  • After the baby is born, be proactive in seeing your OB/GYN earlier than the customary 6 weeks. New research shows that earlier interactions with your OB can reduce the risk of post-partum complications like stroke, infection or blood clots, and post-partum depression.

For more tips on healthy living at every age and stage of your life, visit

Dr. JJ Levenstein is a retired pediatrician, wife, mother and chef. She combines her knowledge of science and medicine with her passion for teaching and food. Eat, learn, explore and be inspired by Dr. JJ at

A bi-monthly publication providing relevant information about lead exposure to help you protect and care for your patients, community, and loved ones.

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