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Healthy tips for every stage of a woman’s life
What can I do to stay healthy?
We understand that you’re busy working and taking care of your family. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. One of the best things you can do to stay healthy is to go to your well-woman checkup.
Your health plan covers a well-woman checkup once a year. At your checkup, your primary care physician (PCP) or gynecologist will give you a:
- Pelvic examination
- Cervical cancer screening (Pap test)
- Breast exam
You might not have any symptoms or signs of problems. But you should still go to your well-woman checkup every year. It’s easier for doctors to treat problems when they catch them early.
You can schedule your well-woman checkup through your obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) or your PCP. You don’t need a referral.
What about your bone health?
As you get older, you should be more aware of osteoporosis. It's a condition that makes your bones weaker. Nearly half of all women age 50 or older have it. There are no symptoms. So, unfortunately, you may not know you have it until you break a bone.
You should ask your PCP about your bone health at your next well-woman checkup. They can prescribe you a bone density test, especially if you:
- Are age 50 or older
- Are small and thin
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Take certain medicines
- Are white or Asian
- Have a low bone density
You can keep your bones strong by:
- Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Exercising regularly
- Not smoking
Do you need help with family planning?
You can go to any family planning provider or clinic. Even when they aren’t in our network. You just need to show your Aetna Better Health® ID card at your appointment. We cover the following family planning services and tests:
- Annual exams and Pap tests
- Pregnancy and other lab tests
- Prescription and over-the-counter birth control medications and devices
- Birth control medical visits
- Testing, education and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and prevention
- Help with making an informed decision on family planning
- Treatment of problems related to the use of birth control, including emergency services
- Pregnancy diagnosis, counseling and referral
Prenatal care starts before you’re pregnant. You should start planning for your pregnancy as soon as you start thinking about having a baby.
It’s never too early to start taking prenatal vitamins (especially folic acid). They can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. You can get these without a prescription.
See your doctor
Your PCP may want to give you a well-woman checkup. And make sure that you’re healthy. They’ll also answer any questions that you have about your health or getting pregnant.
Start healthy habits
A balanced diet is good for your health. You should follow a healthy diet before you get pregnant. You should try to consume:
- Foods that are high in protein, like red meat, chicken and fish (avoid raw fish)
- Fruits, veggies, grains and dairy products
- At least eight glasses of water daily
Stay away from alcohol, smoking and drugs. They’re not good for you. And they’re not good for your baby. It’s also a good idea to cut down on caffeine.
If you think you are pregnant
Call your PCP or Ob/Gyn. You’ll want to schedule your first visit during the first six to eight weeks of your pregnancy.
About the author
AJ Murphy is an evocative young writer who grew up in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood. AJ began his writing career at Alaska Ice Rinks Inc. in Anchorage, AK, where he also drove a Zamboni and took care of outdoor hockey rinks.