Lifestyle changes and parenthood

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I'm almost nineteen and my boyfriend and I have decided to start trying to get pregnant, but I have a few questions.

First, almost two years ago I got a pap and they said I had HPV. I got treatment for it and went back the next year and they said everything was fine. Could I still have it and if I do could HPV harm my baby when I am pregnant or giving birth?

Second, I still have my hymen, the skin that is supposed to go away when your younger. Should I get it removed before giving birth?

My boyfriend regularly smokes pot, will it give him a low sperm count, or could it give the baby any abnormalities?

I never started my period on my own and when I was sixteen my doctor put me on birth control to start my period. I was on the pill for a few months and then I put myself on the depo shot and I have been on it for two years, but a month ago I switched to the pill and I started my period late and now I have completely stopped taking any birth control. Will it be difficult to get pregnant since I have never had a period without birth control? Since I stopped all birth control does that make me more fertile? My period ended three days ago so how would I know when I'm ovulating, since I don't know how regular or irregular my cycle is?

Is it normal to have really bad cramps when taking the pill, because I used to never have any and then when I switched to the pill, my cramps would almost take my breathe away. I had sex before my period started when, on my pills I should have already been on my period, and I also had sex after my period ended when I wasn't on any birth control. Could I be pregnant? I took a hpt when I was on the taking the pills you take when you're on your period and it was negative. Should I take another one?

Around the time of my period I smoked meth. What are the affects of methamphetamine's on the baby in the first week or two of pregnancy, if i am pregnant? I am also trying to quit smoking. If I can't and I get pregnant is the patch healthier for the baby? Sorry to overload you I just had to get answers for all of my questions.

ANSWER

I'm almost nineteen and my boyfriend and I have decided to start trying to get pregnant, but I have a few questions. First, almost two years ago I got a pap and they said I had hpv, I got treatment for it and went back the next year and they said everything was fine. Could I still have it and if I do could hpv harm my baby when I am pregnant or giving birth?

You definitely still have it, as it is a virus that has no cure. It will not harm your baby either during pregnancy or birth.

Second, I still have my hymen, the skin that is supposed to go away when you're younger. Should I get it removed before giving birth?

If you still had your hymen, you couldn't menstruate. Since you can menstruate, you can have a baby.

Also my boyfriend regularly smokes pot, will it give him a low sperm count, or could it give the baby any abnormalities?>

If he is regularly smoking pot (an illegal act), he does not sound like he is ready to be a parent. Also, you do not mention that you are ready to get married, which is a really nice thing to do prior to talking about kids, as kids really do appreciate a stable family to be born into. That said, there is no research evidence I am aware of that pot use by females (or the second-hand smoke) causes fetal abnormalities or problems beyond those we see with cigarettes, which are not pretty (prematurity, low birth weight etc). If you are concerned about his sperm count or whether his sperm are formed normally, that can be checked with a simple test.

I never started my period on my own and when I was sixteen my doctor put me on birth control to start my period, I was on the pill for a few months and then I put myself on the depo shot and I have been on it for two years, but a month ago i switched to the pill and I started my period late and now I have completely stopped taking any birth control. Will it be difficult to get pregnant since I have never had a period without birth control? Since I stopped all birth control does that make me more fertile? My period ended three days ago so how would I know when I'm ovulating, since I don't know how regular or irregular my cycle is?

You can use the charting tool on this site to help you find out when you are ovulating.

Around the time of my period I smoked meth, what are the affects of methamphetamine's on the baby in the first week or two of pregnancy?

Meth is basically poison, so it is NOT good for a developing fetus -- another good reason to wait to become pregnant is for you to have time to get treatment for your addiction (yeah, I know, you're not an addict, but if you were trying to get pregnant, why were you using?)

I am also trying to quit smoking. If I can't and I get pregnant is the patch healthier for the baby?

Definitely.

Sorry to overload you I just had to get answers for all of my questions.

It's great that you have asked all these questions. They are all very important ones for the health of your pregnancy, your delivery, and the long-term physical and mental health of your child. I wish you luck in your preparations for parenthood. Please write back if you need any additional information or support.

-- Cynthia, CNM

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Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.