What Does an Overturn of Roe Mean to Me as a Woman in Virginia?

What does an overturn of Roe mean to me as a woman in Virginia?

There’s a lot of noise out there. It sounds angry – and frightening. We’ve lived under the ruling of Roe v. Wade for almost 50 years. For many of us, that’s our entire life. So what does it even mean to “Overturn Roe?” And how will the overturn affect us, personally, as women living here in Virginia?

It means a few things. To be clear, though, there are also some things it doesn’t mean.

Overturning Roe doesn’t mean that abortion is illegal throughout the United States. Rather, instead of abortion being legally protected at the national level, each state will have to individually determine whether or not abortion will continue to be legal within its borders.

Under Roe, abortion was legally protected in every state, with each state deciding how “legal” was practiced– like how far along a woman could be and still get an abortion, who could legally perform the abortion, and what had to happen before the abortion.

As we’ve waited on the Supreme Court’s decision, the new language we’ve lived with over these past few weeks has centered on “throwing Roe back to the states.” With the overturn of Roe, each state now has to answer the abortion question for itself.

So now, Virginia will have the power to decide the legality of abortion within its borders. To be clear, Virginia has the option to leave it just as it was when Roe was the law of the land. If that’s the case, things will likely continue just as they are, which will no doubt be the case for other states as well.

And while fear seems to be rampant, so does incorrect information. So let us help settle some of those fears.

Overturning Roe doesn’t mean miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and stillbirths will be handled differently than they were under Roe. After all, miscarriagesectopic pregnancies, and stillbirths aren’t elective abortions, and they’ve never been governed by Roe. Here in Hampton Roads, local medical providers express confidence that the overturning of Roe will not lessen the medical care provided to women in any of these scenarios. That’s good news, Virginia!

Additionally, here at Alcove Health Women’s Clinic, we’ve provided pregnancy services for thousands of local women over the past three decades. And you know what? We’ve learned from the women we’ve served. Even with Roe in place, women in unplanned pregnancies often felt scared and alone. We know that won’t change with the overturning of Roe – women will continue to need support and services as they face their unplanned pregnancies.

Another thing that won’t change?

The role of Alcove Health Women’s Clinic here in our community. We are still here. We are still the best first call for pregnant women on the Virginia Peninsula. With or without Roe, women in unplanned pregnancies still need a safe space to process their pregnancies, understand their options, and receive medically necessary services. We will continue to provide them with what they need – with services including pregnancy testingultrasoundsSTI testing, and options consultations.

That’s how we’ve helped pregnant women for more than 30 years – and that’s how we will continue to help. Still for free. Still confidentially. Because it’s what we do! The overturning of Roe won’t change that. We still see you, Virginia, and we still want to help.

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy and would like to schedule your free medical appointment, please call or click here today.

By Sherri, Client Relations Manager

June 24, 2022

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Is It Wrong to Bring a Child Into This World?

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Alcove-Health-Blog-Is-It-Wrong-To-Bring-A-Child-Into-This-World

Is it Wrong to Bring a Child Into this World?

If this a question you are grappling with, give yourself the necessary space and time to think it through

Perhaps you’ve heard the question. Perhaps you’ve asked it yourselfPerhaps for the first time in your life a positive pregnancy test has made it more than rhetorical – Is it wrong to bring a child into this world? It’s a question human beings have been asking for a long time. Throw in a worldwide pandemic, the threat of nuclear war, or a protestor with the sign “I wish my mom had aborted me” and one can’t help but think maybeMaybe it is wrong to add another human being to this insufferable place. And there’s nothing like an unplanned pregnancy to turn your world upside down and make you ponder such a deep dark question.

If only you could look into the future and ask your unborn child if they want to be here. But no, that’s not possible. This is a decision you must make. Let me offer at least three reasons why you might want to consider bringing a child into this world. 

First, let’s consider the times. No doubt this is a dark time in human history. Never before has a worldwide pandemic had such profound and long-lasting consequences. Not only have more than one million people died, but billions more continue to live under the threat of serious illness. And then there is the possibility of nuclear war because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And one doesn’t have to look solely to worldwide or global conflicts. There are problems in our own country as well; racial tensions, political tensions, environmental concerns, to name a few. All valid. All deeply concerning. 

But here’s the truth. There has always been sickness. There has always been war. There has always been tension.  Looking to our past we see life in the Middle Ages was brutal, full of death and disease. To live during any of the great world wars has been the destiny of billions. And yet, people have always continued to have children. If people then had stopped hoping for a brighter future and a better world, where would that leave us today? It just might be that love of family and a desire to provide and protect those we love might be the very fuel that compels us to keep reproducing. 

Second, let’s consider the economy. Some will argue our current economic climate is too uncertain, too unstable, to create the kind of world necessary for children to flourish. But any good business student can tell you there have always been and there will always be business cycles. Many living today remember the high inflation and gas lines in the 70’s.  As we approach double digit inflation once again, we realize this too shall pass. Ask any baby boomer and they are just as likely to have held a mortgage with a 10% mortgage rate (typical in the 80’s) as one at 2% (more recent). You can take a look at historical mortgage interest rates here. So remember, times change. This may be a challenging time to bring a child into this world, but if you follow some basic common-sense rules (like saving 10% of what you earn and living on less than you make), you will weather this storm and can reasonably expect better times to come.

Finally, and most importantly, let’s consider the future. Many will argue that more children mean a further strain on planet Earth’s resources. This may be true. The UN estimates our planet will add another 2 billion residents in the next 30 years, placing the population at about 9.7 billion people. However, it is also true that there is a slowing global fertility rate that might push the fertility rate below the 2.1 births per woman necessary to avoid an overall population decline in the long run. By 2050 the UN expects as many as 55 countries will have declining populations due to declining fertility rates. So the concern about the impact on future resources is at least mitigated by the slowing global fertility rate. You can read more about these estimates here.

So if it is good and right to at least think about the negative impact more children might have on this planet, is it not also good and right to think about the potential good? In other words, what is the potential positive future impact of these children? Well, for one thing, how about their minds? How about their creativity? How about their determination and drive? Our planet has many problems, yes. But it will take new and innovative ideas to solve those problems. If everyone decides the negative outweighs the positive, that fertility rate might just drop to the point where we deprive this world of the very thing it needs to survive…the human race.

So while each person must decide for themselves whether or not to bring a child into this world, it is important to remember there is much to consider. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, and this a question you are grappling with, give yourself the necessary space and time to think it through. 

At Alcove Health Women’s Clinic in Newport News, VA, we understand this is a weighty decision. We want to give you a safe place to process all of your options and to get the medically necessary information you need to make an informed decision. We offer pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD/STI testing, and options consultations. And we do it all at no cost to you. So you can take the time you need to slow down and think more deeply about how you want to move forward. Call us today or click here and request an appointment. We are here for you and we want to help.

By Sheri, Advocacy Manager

June 17, 2022

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Unplanned Pregnancy

Facing an unplanned pregnancy and not sure what to do next? At Alcove Health all of our services are FREE...

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Unplanned Pregnancy

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Alcove-Health-Blog-Unplanned-Pregnancy

Unplanned Pregnancy

An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to change your goals, it just means you need to make a plan.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what to do next. A positive pregnancy test may have you feeling overwhelmed with all the concerns that come with an unplanned pregnancy.

There are definitely things to do – and we will help with that. But first, let’s take a minute to think about a few things in a different way.

Imagine a day that you’ve gotten up early enough to shower, eat breakfast, do your hair, and STILL be on time for class or work. What a great feeling, right? You pat yourself on the back and head out with full vibes of positivity. You jump in the car and head down the interstate. Then…all of a sudden you see a sign that says, “DETOUR AHEAD” or “ROAD CLOSED”.

What do you do now?

You have to change your morning routine. You have to recalculate your arrival time. You have to rethink where you were planning to park. You may be late, but you do not have to give up on getting to class or work. You just have to stop and figure out how to adjust to this unplanned event. 

Now back to you – today. If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy you may feel the same way.

So what should you do now? You’re not alone – we’re here to help with that.

    • Second, consider your options. A detour does not mean you cannot move forward. A detour offers you an opportunity to consider other routes. You can still arrive at your destination and reach your goal. At Alcove Health, we provide FREE options consultations and a safe space to process your thoughts and feelings.
    • Third, remember that unplanned does not mean impossible, insurmountable, or hopeless! The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines unplanned as “not expected or intended.” What the definition does not include are words like insurmountable, impossible, or hopeless. Having an unplanned pregnancy does not mean that it is no longer possible to achieve your goals. It does not mean that your life or the life of your child will be dim and hopeless. Sometimes the best part of the journey is the unexpected detour that allows you to discover amazing things you would never have seen.
  • If you’re trying to figure out how to handle the detour of an unplanned pregnancy in your life – contact us! Call or click here to request your free medical appointment. Here at Alcove Health, we see you and we want to help. Our free services including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, options consults – and even STI testing. A detour doesn’t mean your life is over; it means it’s time to make a plan. We can help with that!

By Karen, Client Advocate

June 15, 2022

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Unplanned Pregnancy

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What Makes a Condom Fail?

What makes a condom fail?
What makes a condom fail?

What Makes a Condom Fail?

Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trich if they are used properly and every time you have sex. The important takeaway here is properly and every time. STI testing is so important because condoms fail if not used properly.

If your boyfriend has been storing his condoms in his wallet for the last few years just waiting for a chance to use them, they are probably expired. That’s right, condom boxes and packages have expiration dates! Or let’s say he has kept them in the glove box of his car, through the cold of winter and the heat of summer – the chances of them still being effective are pretty low. These conditions can make condoms fail.

So it is important that condoms be used before their expiration date. You also want to make sure the condom isn’t worn down from being carried around and that the package isn’t opened by something sharp – if you want it to work. It’s also important that the condom is the right size, you have proper lubrication, and there is room left at the tip to prevent breakage.

It is difficult enough to get him to use one, so make sure it is still in good working condition when he does. After all, why would you wear one just to have the condom fail?

If by some chance the condom breaks during sex, you need to stop immediately and use a new one. But there will still be questions in the back of your mind – What if I’m pregnant? What if he gave me an STI? Was I exposed long enough for either of these to happen?

When a condom breaks, there is always a chance that a pregnancy could occur or an STI could have been transferred.  Remember that many people who have an STI are not aware that they have one – so you can’t rely on symptoms to let you know if you’ve been exposed! A condom fail is a sign that you need to be tested – for pregnancy and an STI.

So, if you missed your period or have a positive pregnancy test, rather than sitting at home stressing about being pregnant and having an STI, click here or call to request your free appointment at Alcove Health. Located in Newport News, we provide a pregnancy test with each STI appointment and we offer STI testing with every pregnancy appointment. All of our services are provided for free – and yes, when we say free, we mean completely free. So stop worrying about your condom fail and get peace of mind. Request your confidential appointment today.

By Kinta, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

June 8, 2022

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I’m Pregnant and Worried about the Formula Shortage

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Alcove-Health-Blog-Pregnant-and-Formula-Shortage

I’m pregnant and worried about the formula shortage

Most pregnant women make a plan for how they will feed their babies –  breastfeeding, formula, or a mixture of both. In the past, women have made the decision based on what they think will work best for their babies and themselves – based on personal preferences, finances, and family/community support. But now many pregnant women are worried about the formula shortage. 

The current formula shortage has a lot of pregnant women thinking about breastfeeding; it even has some rethinking their original plans to rely on formula. It’s a frightening thing to think about not being able to meet the physical needs of our little ones.

So, should you make a decision to breastfeed given the current infant shortage?

Let’s start with the question without the current situation – simply, “Should you breastfeed?”

Well, yes. Unless.

You see breastfeeding is one of those “Yes, unless” questions. Some questions are answered with an easy yes: “Should I feed my baby? Should I keep my baby safe? Should I make sure my baby’s diaper is dry?” Yes, yes, yes – to all these questions.

Breastfeeding is not that simple, though.

We want you to know that here at Alcove Health, we’re not going to judge you based on your feeding decision. We know that being a good mother isn’t wrapped up all in this one decision about how you will feed your little one. After all, breastfeeding isn’t the measuring stick by which all motherhood is assessed.

Therefore, we’re going to discuss breastfeeding – but not as the most defining moment of your life or your baby’s life. We’re going to discuss it as an option. A really good option for feeding your baby. Because that’s true – whether or not you’re currently worried about the formula shortage.

Breastfeeding is good for your baby. Really good. In fact, breast milk is the best food for a baby in the first year of life – for the baby’s health, strength, and protection.

If you were all along planning to feed your baby using formula, you may not be aware of the best practices and benefits of breastmilk. 

So, slow down and give yourself some time to read and learn. You owe it to yourself to consider your options with accurate information. So start by reading HERE, HERE, and HERE. Additionally – for guidelines on breastfeeding from the American Academy of Pediatrics – read HERE.

Breastfeeding is best as an informed decision and the more you know about breastfeeding the more confident you will be in your decision – especially if you’re worried about the formula shortage.

Realize that breastfeeding is good for you too, mom. Nursing provides you with health protections and can reduce your risks for certain conditions and diseases.

And then there’s the money side of feeding your baby. Breastfeeding is good for your wallet. Instead of your money going to a local grocery store, the cost of formula stays in your wallet. That’s a pretty sweet perk.

But there are reasons you weren’t originally planning to breastfeed your baby.

Sometimes, the emotional cost of breastfeeding can be daunting. The emotional concerns are there –  including worries about isolation and dependency.

And then there are the personal questions – “What if I just can’t do it?” “What if my baby can’t do it?”

Whew. That’s a lot to think about. And worries can become overwhelming. But you’re this baby’s mother. You are stronger than you think. For all the “What ifs,” realize that there is help on the other side if nursing is difficult.

Like help from lactation consultants. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. Sometimes natural things require training. Many hospitals will provide the assistance of a lactation consultant to help settle your uncertainties as a first-time breast-feeder. The consultant can answer your questions and help you problem solve if you’re having difficulty.

If you’re pregnant and worried about the formula shortage, we can help with breastfeeding classes, too. Just click here to request an appointment here at Alcove Health.

It’s important to remember that you won’t be alone in the process. There’s also your family and other people in your support group.

Do you know that support seems to play a big part in a woman’s decision to breastfeed? Women who have support from their family and friends are more likely to start and continue breastfeeding.

You may have made your decision to use formula without even talking to those around you. You may have assumed they won’t support it. They may have agreed with you that formula-feeding was the best decision for your family.

Here’s where you need to insert your voice. Share that you are worried about the formula shortage. A decision made when there was plenty of formula on the shelves will look different now. Difficulty finding formula for a hungry baby will put a strain on everyone. A plan to support you as you breastfeed could help support everyone in your circle. Make your desires – and concerns – known and ask for support from the people in your life.  This is a reasonable request!

Of course, there are reasons women can’t breastfeed (like low milk supply, medications, infectious diseases, and baby’s medical needs). Some of these reasons can be addressed while you’re pregnant; others may not be realized until after your baby is born.

Remember – formula shortage aside – for those who can’t or don’t breastfeed, according to KidsHealth:

“Infant formula is a healthy alternative. Formula provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Some mothers worry that if they don’t breastfeed, they won’t bond with their baby. But the truth is, loving mothers will always create a special bond with their children. And feeding — no matter how — is a great time to strengthen that bond.”

As with many of our mothering decisions, flexibility is important. The best feeding choice is a starting point – then we make adjustments based on the best we can do. After all, it’s important to have a healthy baby and an emotionally healthy mom.

You have a lot to think about. Remind yourself that you will make a lot of mothering choices over the next years. Whether or not to breastfeed is just one of those choices. But worrying isn’t a good choice. And it you’re worried about the formula shortage, today is a good day to start making a plan so you won’t be worried after your baby is born.

If you would like parenting classes (to include breastfeeding classes), please request an appointment with us by clicking here. Here at Alcove Health, all of our services (and classes) are free and we’re happy to help. Reach out today!

By Sherri, Client Relations Manager

June 2, 2022

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How Long to Wait For an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex
How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

Immediately after having unprotected sex, you may want to run to your local clinic and get tested. But what good is a negative STI test if the test is too soon to be trusted? How long should you wait for an STI test after unprotected sex? What is the time frame between being exposed to an STI and when you would test positive for it if you were infected?

STIs are a category of infections that are primarily passed through sexual contact.  That includes genital sex, oral sex and anal sex.

First, a few important terms:

    • The incubation period is the time it takes for the body to produce antibodies and symptoms to appear after being exposed to an infection.
    • The latency period is the time between your exposure to an STI and when you can pass that infection on to other people.
    • The window period is how long it takes between your exposure to an STI and getting an accurate test result.

It’s possible to be infected with an STI and not be experiencing any symptoms. Even during this time you’re able to pass that infection on to your sexual partner. That’s why it’s important to test regularly and not wait for symptoms to arise.  You can unknowingly pass along an infection – even if you have no symptoms! This is one reason STIs are such an epidemic in our country. It is recommended that all sexually active adults get tested for STIs with each new partner, or at least once a year.

But still, there is a time it’s too soon to test – a time period where you will need to wait for an STI test.

Here is a guideline for the testing window (how long you should wait between the sexual encounter and getting tested) for some of the most common STIs:

    • Gonorrhea 7-14 days
    • Chlamydia 5-14 days
    • Trichomonas 7-30 days 
    • HIV 18-90 days
    • Hepatitis C  2-6 weeks
    • Syphilis 3-6 weeks
    • Herpes (HSV 2) 1-4 months

There are benefits to detecting these infections early and receiving the appropriate treatment in a timely manner. If you think you may have an STI, it’s important to stop engaging in sexual activity and get tested. Knowing the incubation period and testing windows of the most common infections can help you determine how long you should wait for an STI test and when to seek medical help. You can play an important role in stopping the transmission of STIs between yourself, your sexual partners, and their sexual partners. In some cases, testing can even save your life.

Some of the potential risks of untreated STIs include:

Taking care of your sexual health is important. Not everyone will voluntarily disclose their STI status to you. You can take control of your sexual health by asking questions, screening new sexual partners, and having open and honest discussions about sexually transmitted diseases. 

You are worth taking the time to gain trust and build a lasting relationship before engaging in intimate behavior. At Alcove Health Women’s Clinic, we can provide you with the information and tools you need to build healthy, trusting, and lasting relationships. We also test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas at no charge. Additionally, we will provide you with a no-cost pregnancy test during your medical appointment. We would love to schedule an appointment for you to talk with an advocate and see a Registered Nurse. Call or click here to request your free and confidential appointment!

By Meg, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

May 24, 2022

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