Dr. Lela Emad

May is the Month for Women – A good time to focus on Women’s Health

In honor of Mother’s Day and National Women’s Health Week Dr. Lela Emad of Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers timely insights for staying healthy.

With the goal of empowering women to make health a priority, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office celebrates National Women’s Health Week beginning on May 14th – which is also Mother’s Day. This weeklong event is offered to encourage women to take steps to improve health with a focus on annual screenings, lifestyle choices and prevention.

“It is certainly important for women to be vigilant about testing for conditions that are most successfully treated when caught early, including breast cancer and colon cancer. And, another good way to stay healthy is to have routine check-ups to screen for the basic health concerns,” says Dr. Lela Emad obstetrician & gynecologist. “Heart disease is still the top killer of women in the U.S. therefore it is equally important for women to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels and to be aware of any potential for diabetes.”

Life expectancy in the U.S. for women now averages a full eight decades – barring accidents or major health issues. With all that living to look forward to, it’s a good idea to adopt healthy habits as early in life as possible. A look at the trends to better health reveals that there are some very simple ways to optimize health, and make life worth living.

Schedule an Appointment

One important step consists of scheduling a visit to a healthcare provider for a well-woman checkup that includes preventive screenings. Health professionals recommend adolescent girls and women start routine, annual gynecologic visits around the age of 14 unless otherwise indicated by their general practitioners. These important checkups give women an opportunity to discuss both gynecologic and general health concerns. This type of screening can include the following:

  • Blood pressure, Height, Weight
  • Lipid Panel (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • A hemoglobin test, an indicator for anemic
  • Pap & HPV tests

Exercise – Be more active!

Sitting for prolonged periods at a desk or in front of the computer may be a necessity for many a woman’s livelihood, but it’s not good for the body. Research shows that women who sit for more than six hours a day have a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause when compared to women who sit for fewer than three hours—regardless of their fitness levels.

Exercise is hands-down the best thing both men and women can do to improve health. And the best way to get fit and stay fit is to get moving. Exercise increases energy and releases endorphins—which in turn increases a person’s happiness quotient. Several recent studies indicate that staying active is associated with a longer life expectancy.

Exercise doesn’t need to be drudgery, a good way to incorporate a routine that endures the test of time is to choose activities that are fun. Simply going for a 20-minute walk with a friend is extremely beneficial to overall healthfulness. Just 2.5 hours weekly (about 20 minutes a day) of moderate aerobic exercise such as walking provides all the major health benefits a body needs to stay healthy.

Eating for Life

Research proves that eating more fresh vegetables is one of the simplest way to improve overall healthfulness. A vegetable-rich diet can help protect the body from arthritis, heart disease, stroke, dementia and a variety of cancers – and it might also slow down the aging process. In fact, one study found that people who consume at least seven portions of fresh vegetables and fruit each day have as much as 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat one portion or less.

Breast Health

Routine breast exams and general awareness of how to maintain breast health are important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for women. Screening methods such as regular self-breast exams, breast checks during routine gynecologic exams, and screening mammographies can all help to detect breast problems early-on.

For National Women’s Health Week, the office of Women’s Health US Dept. of Health & Human Services also recommends that women pay attention to mental health, get plenty of sleep and take steps every day to manage stress. And, of course avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit the Women’s OB/GYN website.

Good outcomes for older women who give birth at home or in a birth center

Women with some characteristics commonly thought to increase pregnancy risks — being over age 35; being overweight; and in some cases, having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section — tend to have good outcomes when they give birth at home or in a birth center, a new assessment has found.

However, women with some other risk factors, a breech baby and some other cases of vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC, may face an increased risk of poor outcomes for themselves or their babies, researchers at Oregon State University have found. The study is believed to be the first to examine these risks and the outcomes. About 2 percent of all births in the U.S., and about 4 percent in Oregon, occur at home or in a birth center, rather than in a hospital setting. Generally, women who are considered “low-risk” are good candidates for home or birth center births, also referred to as community births, if they are attended by a midwife or other trained provider and timely access to a hospital is available.

However, there is little agreement among health providers on what should be considered low- or high-risk, and some women choose to have a community birth despite potential risks, said Marit Bovbjerg, a clinical assistant professor of epidemiology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.

Medical ethics and the tenets of maternal autonomy dictate that women be allowed to decide where and how they wish to give birth. That’s why it’s important to have as much information as possible about potential risks, said Bovbjerg, who works in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

There are also risks associated with hospital births, such as increased interventions, which means there aren’t always clear answers when it comes to determining the best and safest place to give birth, said Melissa Cheyney, a medical anthropologist and associate professor in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The goal of the research was to better understand the outcomes for women and babies with some of the most common pregnancy risk factors, to see how those risk factors affected outcomes.

“There’s a middle or gray area, in terms of risk, where the risk associated with community birth is only slightly elevated relative to a completely low-risk sample,” Cheyney said. “We’re trying to get more information about births that fall in that middle zone so that clinicians and pregnant women can have the best evidence available when deciding where to give birth.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Birth. Other co-authors are Jennifer Brown of University of California, Davis; and Kim J. Cox and Lawrence Leeman of the University of New Mexico. Using birth outcome data collected by the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, commonly referred to as MANA Stats, the researchers analyzed more than 47,000 midwife-attended community births.

They looked specifically at the independent contributions to birth outcomes of 10 common risk factors: primiparity, or giving birth for the first time; advanced maternal age, or mother over age 35; obesity; gestational diabetes; preeclampsia; post-term pregnancy, or more than 42 weeks gestation; twins; breech presentation; history of both cesarean and vaginal birth; and history of only cesarean birth.

The last two groups are both considered VBACs and hospital policies and state regulations for midwifery practice usually make no distinction between the two types. However, the researchers found a clear distinction between the two groups in terms of community birth outcomes.

Women who delivered vaginally after a previous cesarean and also had a history of previous vaginal birth had better outcomes even than those women giving birth for the first time. On the other hand, women who had never given birth to a child vaginally had an increased risk of poor outcomes in community birth settings.

“That finding suggests that current policies that universally discourage VBAC should be revisited, as the evidence does not support them,” Bovbjerg said. “Women who in the past have successfully delivered vaginally seem to do just fine the next time around, even if they have also had a previous C-section. That’s really important because some medical groups totally oppose VBACs, even in hospital settings, and many hospitals don’t offer the option of a VBAC at all.”

Researchers also found that women whose babies were in breech position had the highest rate of adverse outcome when giving birth at home or in a birth center.

There was only a slight increase in poor outcomes for women over age 35, or women who were overweight or obese, compared to those without those risk factors. In some categories, there were not enough births in the data set to properly evaluate a risk’s impact, such as with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

“As is appropriate, women who face high complication risks such as preeclampsia tend to plan for and choose a hospital birth, rather than a community birth,” Bovbjerg said. “But even for these women, it’s important to remember that they can choose a community birth if their faith, culture or other considerations dictate that is the best choice for them.”

The researchers emphasized that the new information about risks and outcomes can serve as an important tool in decision-making for families making very personal choices about where to give birth. “These findings help us to put information and evidence, rather than fear, at the center of discussions around informed, shared decision-making between expectant families and their health care providers,” Cheyney said.

Researchers next plan to examine how the healthcare culture and standards of care in different locations within the U.S. affect outcomes of home and birthing center deliveries.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marit L. Bovbjerg, Melissa Cheyney, Jennifer Brown, Kim J. Cox, Lawrence Leeman. Perspectives on risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States. Birth, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/birt.12288

Read this article on Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170413154439.htm.

Learn More About Our Providers – Dr. Lela Emad

Learn More About Our Providers – Dr. Lela Emad, M.D.

Lela Emad, MDDr. Lela Emad is a compassionate, experienced OB/GYN certified by the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Emad specializes in general women’s health as well as the diagnosis and treatment (surgical and non-surgical) of a full-spectrum of gynecological disorders. Before medical school, Dr. Emad studied biology as an undergraduate at Sonoma State University, graduating with high honors in 1982. She obtained her Medical Doctorate from the University of California at Davis in 1986, and began her internship and residency the same year in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Dr. Emad finished her residency in 1989. A true fan of northern California, Dr. Emad opened her private practice in 1990 at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group in Santa Rosa, where she has devotedly served Sonoma County women ever since.

While Dr. Emad loves her Sonoma County home, she took advantage of every opportunity to study abroad during her education. In her second year of medical school, Dr. Emad traveled to Nicaragua as a member of a health study task force with the American Medical Student Association. In her final year of medical school, Dr. Emad traveled to Calcutta, India as a part of the Sidewalk Clinic for the Homeless. She went abroad again during the second year of her residency to study at University Kabansegaan, Department of OB/GYN in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Dr. Emad stayed in Sacramento during the final year of her residency to serve as an Assistant Instructor of Operative Hysterectomy, Resection, and Ablation courses.

In her free time, Dr. Emad enjoys scuba diving, bicycling, underwater photography, hiking and traveling. After 25 years of experience, Dr. Emad continues to receive great satisfaction from helping her patients overcome their gynecologic health problems and meet their long-term lifestyle and healthcare goals. Dr. Emad is fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Emad, please call our office: (707)-579-1102.

Migraines may increase risk of stroke, heart disease

Women who suffer from migraine headaches may have a slightly increased risk of heart disease or stroke, a new study suggests.

“Migraine should be considered a marker for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, at least in women,” said lead researcher Dr. Tobias Kurth, director of the Institute of Public Health at Charite-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin, Germany.

But, Kurth cautioned that this study can’t prove that migraines cause heart attack or stroke, only that they may make these events more likely. Read the full story here …

Menopause: an ever changing journey through life

OBGYN picPeople speak about menopause as if it is a fixed thing, but in reality it is anything but. Not only does each woman experience it differently both in terms of actual symptoms and their severity but over time those symptoms may lessen, worsen, or change into something entirely new.

The hormone rollercoaster

We all know that at menopause the levels of oestrogen and progesterone start to drop and something many women notice is that their periods can be closer together or get longer or heavier. This is really common and due to the way that your hormonal balance is starting to change. At this point, your progesterone levels will be falling faster than your oestrogen, so your oestrogen just keeps triggering a menstruation and a bleed, particularly if you are very oestrogen dominant.

Hormones don’t stand still, they respond to the internal stimulus from our ovaries, but also to the external stimulus of stress, medications and environmental factors. That is why however well you may be taking care of yourself, not all factors are able to be under your control and your body cleverly prioritises what is the main thing to deal with. Unfortunately it is your body that decides, not you, so if you are dealing with illness, stress or infection the body diverts its resources to dealing with those.

Read the full story here ….

NCMA Physicians Receive SCMA’s Outstanding Contribution Award

NCMA physicians, Lela Emad of the Women’s OB/GYN Department, Dan Lightfoot of Eye Care Institute, and Abdul Harris of Santa Rosa General Surgery Department, are being
honored for their outstanding contribution to the SCMA’s Medical Review Advisory
Committee (MRAC).

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NCMA is proud of their honored physicians who are receiving this prestigious community
award for their outstanding contribution to Sonoma County Medicine. For 40 years, NCMA has responded to the healthcare needs of the community by developing a multi-specialty, integrated physician group to deliver the highest quality medical care available. NCMA physicians serve community leadership roles in all areas of medical and surgical delivery and are affiliated with hospitals in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

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New studies point out that Heart Health and Fitness are important factors for menopausal women

Helping to increase awareness and save lives, the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa reveals how women can take an active role to insure long term heart health

Bicycle on the BeachA University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study has shown that late-stage and post-menopausal women may have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts — a risk factor for heart disease — than their pre-menopausal counterparts. “Some patients are surprised to learn that heart disease is the number one killer of women,” says Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group Obstetrician & Gynecologist Lela Emad, M.D. “Heart disease takes far more lives each year than both breast cancer and cervical cancer combined. We have long understood that the risk factors only increase after the age of 50. This study helps to highlight exactly why this may be the case.”

The Pittsburg Graduate School study, which will appear in the Sept. 1 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, says the increased incident of fat around the heart in menopausal women is attributable to changing hormone levels – a discovery that may help to guide potentially life-saving interventions going forward.

The study specifically revealed that as concentrations of the sex hormone estradiol (a type of estrogen) declined during menopause, greater volumes of corresponding cardiovascular fat were discovered. “Regardless of age and fitness level, women should be taking measures in everyday life to maximize heart health,” says Dr. Emad. “But this study helps to point out the particular importance fitness and exercise can play for women over 50, something we routinely discuss with our patients.”

Menopause and Weight Gain

Weight gain in women during and after menopause has long been associated with the aging process, but until now, menopause hasn’t been shown to be the smoking gun in this process. This study, and others like it, is helping to identify how changes in body fat composition can affect the distribution of fat due to menopause-related hormonal fluctuations. Increased and excess fat around the heart can lead to localized inflammation, which is even more damaging than abdominal fat, as it leads to heart disease and a more than 50 percent increase in coronary events.

In another study recently highlighted in JAMA Oncology, exercising 300 minutes per week (about 45 minutes per day) was shown to be the best tactic to take for reducing total fat in postmenopausal women. Weight gain is common after menopause but as many as 30 percent of women ages 50 to 59 are not just overweight, they are obese. The loss of estrogen has long been thought to cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which may indeed increase fat storage and make it harder for women of a menopausal age to lose weight. Adopting a more active lifestyle is the best form of prevention.

Aerobic exercise is most frequently recommended for weight loss and prevention, and may be the key in helping women to get back to a healthy weight, as well as maintaining optimal levels over time. Types of aerobic exercise commonly recommended for heart health include:

• walking
• jogging
• swimming
• cycling
• aerobic dance

The benefits of aerobic exercise are readily evident as a National Institutes of Health review revealed that people who took part in aerobic activities every day for a minimum of 10 minutes had as many as six fewer inches around the waistline, compared to people who didn’t exercise at all. A regular routine of aerobic activity can help lower the risk of many menopausal symptoms including osteoporosis, breast (and other types of) cancer as well as provide relief of depression and anxiety.

“Lifestyle changes such as exercising, dieting, quitting smoking and cutting back on caffeine are all examples of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy heart,” says Dr. Emad. “Fitness is a factor for women of all ages, and even more significant for those entering menopause.”

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit our website.

May; a Royally Busy Month for Midwives

Midwifery is celebrated this month, while Kate Middleton delivers second child with help of midwives – putting the spotlight on CNM’s. For all mothers, royal or otherwise – maximizing the birth experience, helping to ensure the health of newborns and their mothers is the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa’s primary goal for pregnant patients.

Midwifery ServicesMay is the month that features a special day to celebrate a very important medical provider for women; the midwife (May 5). And with the birth of the latest royal (Princess Charlotte et al) happening just a few days earlier –overseen by no less that two midwives per Kate Middleton’s (the Duchess of Cambridge) request – the art of midwifery is in now the spotlight. “With so much world-wide attention on midwives this month, the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group would like to pay special tribute to our own highly skilled midwife providers, Kirsten Eckert, CNM, Cecelia Rondou, CNM and Suzanne Saunders, CNM,” says Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group’s Dr. Lela Emad, obstetrician & gynecologist.

Midwives are Highly Trained Professionals

Midwives, like other healthcare providers for women, are making a difference in the lives of women in their communities – all over the world. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are specially trained in providing healthcare to pregnant women, and can oversee the birth process from conception through labor and into delivery. According to the latest available statistics on the subject, women are opting to have a CNM serve as their primary healthcare providers during pregnancy at an increasing rate.

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives since 1989 the percentage of midwife-attended births has been on the rise, and in the latest available report as of 2012, midwives attended almost eight percent of all hospital births, a six percent increase from 2005. The percentage of out-of-hospital births attended by CNMs also increased from 28.6 percent in 2005 to 30.4 percent as of 2012. Both the number and percentage of midwife-attended births in the United States slightly increased from 2011 to 2012 despite a decrease in total US births.

Compassionately Providing Birthing Services to Women

“The ability to successfully oversee an expectant mother from conception to delivery requires expert knowledge about the gestation period and birthing process as well as heightened empathy between providers and their patients,” explains Dr. Lela Emad. “Our CNMs work in close collaboration with OB/GYN doctors, and serve as the primary health resource for many pregnant women who prefer to involve a midwife in their pregnancies.” And according to the latest statistics, midwives practice wherever women give birth. In 2012, the majority of midwife-attended births in the U.S. occurred in hospitals (94.9 percent), while 2.6 percent occurred in freestanding birth centers, and the remaining 2.5 percent occurred in homes.

Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group’s highly skilled CNMs offer expertise, tender care and personalized guidance to women during their childbearing years. “Our CNMs understand that delivery preferences are extremely important and personal to expecting mothers, and that they can also be difficult for some women to determine,” said Dr. Emad. To ensure that patients have the best possible experience during their pregnancies, Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group CNMs are especially attentive to pregnant mothers’ personal philosophies on giving birth and general reproductive health.

What patients can expect from a Certified Nurse-Midwife at Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group during pregnancy:

• Routine Gynecological Check-ups with attentive care to physical and emotional health needs
• Hospital delivery of baby and special guidance during labor if desired
• Supportive consultations with patient and partner
• Constant communication with OB/GYN physicians
• Family planning and expert advice on the contraceptive use
• Obstetrical Care
• Educational discussions about breastfeeding, infant care, and what to expect during the postpartum period

Why the Women’s OBGYN Medical Group’s CNM’s are so special

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants at the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group provides unmatched care to patients in the region. Cecelia Rondou, CNM, Kirsten Eckert, CNM and Suzanne Saunders, CNM – all highly qualified professionals, make up the team of midwives in the medical group. “These experienced midwife professionals are vital to the overall quality of care we are able to offer to patients,” explains Dr. Emad.

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group CNM’s provide comprehensive midwife services including diagnostic women’s health screening tests, care throughout the child bearing cycle, management of common perinatal problems, education to promote and maintain health, specimen collection and interpretation of laboratory data, contraception counseling, and so much more. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit their website.