Girl Scouts Beyond Bars

Dr. Catherine Browne was recently invited to join the Austin Girl Scouts Beyond gsBars semimonthly gathering as a guest speaker. She enjoyed the opportunity to represent Capital Ob/Gyn in the community and speak with the girls about their health related questions.

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) is a program that equips girls ages 5 to 17 whose mothers are incarcerated with the tools they’ll need to succeed, while also strengthening the mother/daughter bond through regular visits. The Austin based GSBB meets semimonthly as a group and regularly engages local leaders to speak on relevant topics.

In February, Dr. Browne shared with the fifth through twelfth grade girls of GSBB on the topic of health. It is very important that these girls have a safe environment where they feel comfortable asking questions and where they can receive an educated response to their questions. It was evident that the GSBB has created an environment that meets this need, and that they are having a significant impact on the growth and leadership development of these girls.

Dr. Browne noted that the girls were very curious and open with their questions. Their questions ranged from “What is the Gardasil shot and what is HPV?” to discussions about the dangers of smoking and alcohol. They were also very interested in learning more about becoming a medical professional, the level of education needed and what a typical work day looks like.  Our hope is that each girl left that gathering better equipped to make educated choices when it comes to their health.

The Capital Ob/Gyn team is thankful to have the opportunity to connect with such valuable causes like GSBB and to serve our community. To learn more about our practice visit or call us at 512-836-2536 if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment.

Experience the Freedom of a Healthy Body Image

healthy_mind_healthy_bodyWith spring in full swing and bikini season approaching, the pressure to have a perfect body causes stress rise for the 8 million Americans with poor body image and eating disorders. Statistics from the National Eating Disorder Association tell us that we spend over $40 billion a year on diet and beauty products. 44% of women are on a diet and 29% of men are on a diet. Many experts warn that as the economy and earning potentials have been on the decline, body image for many men has become the focus for individual control.

The potential effects of negative body image are staggering. Most people are aware of the unrealistic images that bombard us from the tv and the covers of magazines. Few people are aware of the potential threats from favorite social media outlets. The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt in Maryland surveyed 600 Facebook users and found that 51% said that seeing photos of themselves made them more conscious about their body. 32% of responders said they feel sad when comparing their own photos to those of friends. 44% of responders are conscious that photos taken at events might get posted without their consent.

It is sad to consider that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and one out of ten young men use unproven food supplements or steroids. For those men and women who are dieting, 35% will develop pathology with food. The University of the West of England recently reported that of 394 men, of whom a quarter were gay, 23% stated that concern about their appearance actually deterred them from going to the gym. One respondent stated that, “while it isn’t a bad thing for people to want to look better, it has become more like a competition”.

Ultimately, the winners in a competition like this will be those individuals who recognize that you cannot weigh your self-esteem and that a positive body image comes from within. Exercise should be for fun, fitness and friendships. In my practice, I regularly discuss nutrition and exercise with my patients. I want each of my patients to feel encouraged and empowered to be the healthiest person they can be. I also try to lead by example through my own love of exercise and a respect of chocolate. Healthful eating and regular exercise keep our bodies strong and makes us feel good on the inside where it counts. Those inner positive feelings can then be projected outwardly and shared with others. When we take inventory of our selves, it should be on those attributes unrelated to our appearance. Let fashion and beauty be comfortable. Smile. Wear clothing that feels good and allows expression of personal style. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The beauty of life, is that you don’t have to be beautiful to live it”.

– Dr.  Jennifer Mushtaler

Our team is committed to the well-being of each woman that walks through our door.  To learn more about our practice visit or call us at 512-836-2536 if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment.

Health & Wellness Fair – Body, Mind and Spirit

The Capital Ob/Gyn team is looking forward to joining the Health & Wellness Fair hosted by Texas Women in Business on Friday, March 15th.   Attendees will benefit from special guest speakers and wellness panel, and have the opportunity to visit over 30 unique exhibitors for information, free screenings and consultations.

Click Here for event details and to purchase your ticket today!  Be sure to stop by the Capital Ob/Gyn booth and say hi!

Health & Wellness Fair – Body, Mind and Spirit

Shoal Crossing Event Center
8611 N. Mopac Austin, TX 78759

Friday, March 15th ~ 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

10:00 – 11:45 Vendor Exhibits, Casual Networking
11:45 – 1:15 Special Extended Program
1:15 – 2:00 Vendor Exhibits

Click Here to purchase your tickets!

Make sure to keep an eye out for Capital Ob/Gyn around town and please visit our website to learn more about our practice or call 512-836-2536 to schedule your next appointment.

An Option for Severe Morning Sickness?

OB JEN recently contributed to an article in Daily Rx regarding the use of Diclectin as an option for reducing severe morning sickness.  You can read the full article below. © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Diclectin given at pregnancy start may reduce risk of very severe morning sickness.

The nausea of morning sickness can strike at any time of day. For some women, it can be particularly bad, such as for Duchess Catherine of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William.

Her morning sickness was a very severe kind called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). It can can cause dehydration bad enough to send those women suffering from it to the hospital.

About 2 percent of all pregnant women will experience HG. In addition, about 75 to 85 percent of women who had HG during their first pregnancy will have it in their next one.

But a recent small, unpublished study may offer a way for these women to reduce their risk of having it again. Taking a medication called Diclectin at the start of pregnancy may help women avoid severe morning sickness or HG if they have had it in the past.

About twice as many women in this study who took Diclectin at the start of their pregnancy did not experience HG, compared to those who only took Diclectin when they started feeling nauseous.

“Talk to your OB about severe morning sickness.”

The study, led by Gideon Koren, MD, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, ran a trial to see whether it was possible to lower the incidence of HG among women who have already had it by giving them medication at the start of their pregnancies.

The study included 59 women who had experienced severe nausea and vomiting or had been diagnosed with HG in a previous pregnancy.

Half the women were given a medication called Diclectin as soon as they found out they were pregnant. The other 29 women were only given Diclectin at the first sign of nausea.

Diclectin contains 10 mg of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and 10 mg of doxylamine, an antihistamine. Diclectin is the Canadian brand name for the medication.

The US brand name was Bendectin until it was voluntarily removed from use in 1983 because of concerns about possible birth defects. Studies have since shown that it does not cause birth defects.

Diclectin is classified as a Risk Factor A drug in Canada, a designation which is equivalent to a Category A drug at the FDA. This classification means it is in the safest category to take during pregnancy.

During this study, researchers interviewed the women through phone calls an average of eight times during the women’s pregnancies to find out their symptoms.

Among the women who took the Diclectin right away, 43.3 percent did not experience HG. Among those who did not take it until they felt nauseous, only 20.6 percent avoided HG.

In addition, only 15.4 percent of the women who took Diclectin right away experienced moderately severe cases of nausea and vomiting during the first three weeks of the study. Among those who waited, 39.1 percent experienced moderately severe morning sickness.

Among the women who began taking Diclectin right away, 78 percent stopped having nausea and vomiting before delivery, compared to 50 percent among those who waited to take the medication.

The researchers concluded that taken Diclectin pre-emptively appeared to reduce the amount of severe morning sickness or HG that women experience.

Jen Mushtaler, MD, an obstetrician in Austin, Texas, and a dailyRx expert, said her patients sometimes take the two active ingredients in Diclectin/Bendectin on their own to address morning sickness symptoms.

“The data has been very reassuring in terms of safety,” Dr. Mushtaler said about Diclectin/Bendectin. “Many of my patients get relief from the combination of vitamin B complex and half a Unisom, whose active ingredient is doxylamine.”

Despite the findings, this study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, so its results should be regarded as preliminary and still require review by researchers in the field. It is also a very small study with results that should be confirmed with larger studies.

The most common side effect of Diclectin is drowsiness. Other possible side effects include diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, headache, irritability or nervousness.

Very rare but possible serious side effects that have been reported include seizures, pounding heartbeat, stomach pain and difficulty urinating.

The study was presented February 14 at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Francisco. Information was unavailable regarding funding and conflicts of interest.

To schedule an appointment with any Capital Ob/Gyn physicians, call 512.836.2536 or visit  We look forward to seeing you soon at Capital Ob/Gyn!

Having a Baby After Bariatric Surgery

OB JEN recently contributed to an article in Daily Rx regarding having a baby after Bariatric surgery.  You can read the full article below.

Pregnancy after bariatric surgery involved some risks but less so than obesity.  Pregnancy can involve more risks for women who are obese. As obesity rates rise, so does the number of women seeking bariatric surgery to treat their obesity.  A recent study considered what recommendations might be important for women who want to become pregnant after they have had bariatric surgery to treat obesity.

The authors concluded that women should wait at least a year, preferably 18 months, before becoming pregnant after the surgery. They may need additional nutrient supplements, and they should limit their pregnancy weight gain.  The authors also recommended that women discuss their options related to obesity, pregnancy and bariatric surgery with their doctors to make informed decisions.  “Ask your doctor about pregnancy after surgery.”  The study, led by Rahat Khan, MBBS, MRCOG, an OB/GYN at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow in the United Kingdom, reviewed the current research related to pregnancy and bariatric surgery for obesity.

Obese women are more likely to have complications during pregnancy as well, so the researchers wanted to better understand possible pregnancy outcomes after a woman undergoes an increasingly used obesity treatment.  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK recommends that morbidly obese women who have been unable to lose weight through lifestyle changes or medication could consider bariatric surgery.

The question is how long a woman should wait after she has bariatric surgery before she tries to get pregnant. The research on this question is sparse and sometimes contradictory.  Some studies found a higher risk of preterm (early) birth among women who got pregnant within a year of their surgeries.  Another study found a higher miscarriage rate (31 percent) among women who became pregnant within 18 months of their surgeries, compared to the miscarriage rate (18 percent) among women who waited at least 18 months after their surgery to become pregnant.

However, most studies did not find a higher risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure or gestational diabetes among pregnant women who had had bariatric surgery, regardless of how long they waited until after the surgery before becoming pregnant.  The research also found no differences so far in children’s birth weight, fetal growth restriction or cesarean section rates among women who conceived within a year of their surgery versus more than a year post-surgery.

Yet, since the evidence in this area is still thin and there are some studies to support the recommendation, the authors said that women should be advised to wait 12 to 18 months after their bariatric surgery before trying to become pregnant.

Jennifer Mushtaler, MD, an obstetrician in Austin, Texas and a dailyRx expert, said waiting after surgery to conceive also allows a woman to achieve a more consistent body weight.  “The greatest weight loss occurs in the first year after surgery, so many surgeons and obstetricians advise waiting at least one year after surgery before attempting pregnancy to allow weight to stabilize,” Dr. Mushtaler said.

The researchers also noted, however, that women tend to have improved fertility after bariatric surgery compared to morbidly obese women who do not undergo the surgery or otherwise lose weight.  The researchers noted that women who become pregnant after having bariatric surgery may experience nutritional deficiencies, especially with folate and vitamin B12. Therefore they should work with their doctors to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they and their developing babies need.  “Women will require additional levels of iron, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, protein and fat-soluble vitamins alongside diagnosis and treatment of other nutritional deficiencies,” the authors wrote.

In terms of weight gain during pregnancy, the authors said that the ideal amount for these women is between 15 and 24 pounds.  The authors also reviewed some of the complications that are possible among pregnant women who have had bariatric surgery. For those who receive gastric-banding, it is possible for the band to move or cause leaking in about 24 percent of cases. Only 4 percent of patients needed the band removed.

Overall, however, there were fewer complications among pregnant women who had bariatric surgery compared to morbidly obese pregnant women.  For example, one study found that 0 percent of pregnant women who had had bariatric surgery developed gestational diabetes, compared to 22 percent of obese pregnant women.  Similarly, the rate of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women who had had bariatric surgery was 0 percent, compared to 3.1 percent in obese pregnant women. Pre-eclampsia is a condition involving high blood pressure and protein in a woman’s urine. The only treatment is to deliver the baby.

Dr. Mushtaler said her experiences in treating women who became pregnant after having had bariatric surgery match up with what the researchers found in their review.

My experiences are consistent with the data in that fertility is improved and rates of complications are less,” Dr. Mushtaler said. “We do watch the infants for risks of growth restriction and we advise patients to take nutritional and vitamin supplements but limit caloric intake.”

In comparing women who had bariatric surgery to healthy weight women who have not had the surgery, there may be additional risks for miscarriage for two particular bariatric procedures: biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).  One study found a miscarriage rate of 34.7 percent among women who had RYGB and 4 percent among women who had BPD. There was not evidence to show a higher miscarriage rate among women getting laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB).

The authors concluded that women who have had bariatric surgery or are considering it should consult with their doctors, especially if they plan to have children.  “Both obstetricians and surgeons should consider post-bariatric surgery pregnant women as high risk,” the authors wrote. “Optimal education should be encouraged in these individuals so that they can make well-informed decisions about planning pregnancy after weight loss surgery.”

The study was published January 11 in the journal The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. The research paper did not note any sources of funding. The authors declared no conflict of interest.

To schedule an appointment with any Capital Ob/Gyn physicians, call 512.836.2536 or visit  We look forward to seeing you soon at Capital Ob/Gyn!

Free Educational Event for Expecting Parents – Saturday, February 23rd

image001Join Capital Ob/Gyn this Saturday, February 23rd from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for a FREE educational seminar for expecting parents.  BabyEarth is bringing
together experts to provide you with informative sessions and interactive Q&As covering important birth and parenting topics.  Dr. Catherine Browne will be representing the Capital Ob/Gyn team on the Birthing Options Panel, so come see us and benefit from this unique event!

Getting Ready for Baby
Saturday, February 23rd

9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Baby Earth – 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd. Round Rock, TX 78664

10:00AM-10:45AM- Infant Safety– We will review issues such as safe sleep, car seat safety, baby proofing, etc.

11:00AM- 11:30AM- Car Seat Installation– We will teach you how to properly install a car seat.

11:45- 12:30- Non-toxic Home and Baby– Toxic chemicals are poorly regulated and are found in everything from cleaning products to body lotion. You will learn how to be proactive in keeping your family and your home free of these harmful substances.

1:00-1:30- Creating a Birthing Plan– Having a plan relieves some of the stress of child birth. During this session you will learn the important things to consider when creating a birthing plan.

1:45-3:00- Birthing Options Panel– Join us with a team of experts to review your options for birth. A home water birth? A medicated birth in a hospital? Something in between? This birthing panel will talk about your options and answer your questions, so come prepared! The panel will include; Dr. Catherine Brown from Capital Ob/gyn; Chan McDermott child birth instructor; Leticia Moran a birth and postpartum Doula and we are awaiting confirmation on several others!

To schedule an appointment with any Capital Ob/Gyn physicians, call 512.836.2536 or visit  We look forward to seeing you soon at Capital Ob/Gyn!

Capital Ob/Gyn and VitaMed Partner to Impact Women in Nicaragua

As a team at Capital Ob/Gyn we are committed to empowering women and walking with them through all stages of life.  From local speaking engagements to overseas medical missions trips, each team member has found a unique way to contribute to women’s health beyond the walls of Capital Ob/Gyn.

Dr. Mushtaler focuses many of her efforts on educating women at her alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin.  On a recent occasion she had the privilege to speak to female members of the UT Triathlon team about women’s health, and through a relationship that began there she learned about the opportunity to sponsor the Global Medical Training mission trip to Nicaragua this January.

Capital Ob/Gyn in partnership with VitaMed has provided 750 prenatal vitamins that will be distributed through Global Medical Training to women in Nicaragua.01_ToCarol0006

Knowing they have a similar passion for the well being of women, Dr. Mushtaler called on Melissa Massey at VitaMed to join this effort.  Their quick and generous response will provide pregnant women in a severely under resourced area the chance for healthy development of their child.  VitaMed offers direct to patient supply of prenatal vitamins and iron supplements with vegan and gluten free options available at Their vitamins contain quatrafolate, the newest generation of folic acid supplement in prenatal vitamins.

Capital Ob/Gyn is glad to partner with Global Medical Training to raise awareness and impact healthcare locally and worldwide.  Global Medical Training is a student organization at The University of Texas at Austin that is committed to empowering students with the knowledge and awareness of the humanitarian need that exists in the world today by expanding students’ understanding of medicine and life outside the United States.  One of their primary objectives is to create awareness about the lack of access to healthcare, not only in third world countries but also in the local Austin community.  For more information on their efforts locally and internationally visit

To learn more about our practice visit or call us at 512-836-2536 if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment.

Annuals and New PAP Smear Guidelines

All of us have been touched in some capacity by cancer. Regarding cervical cancer, public education programs and PAP smear screenings have us on the victorious side of prevention. It is understandable that given years of education to women on the importance of annual cervical cancer screenings, there is confusion and concern over the newer guidelines.

First, let me say that the changes in cervical cancer screening recommendations are very well founded in significant advances in our technological capability. These recommendations are more than just a financial analysis of societal cost/benefit ratios (dig at conflicting breast cancer screening guidelines). Our newer technologies allow us to perform sensitive testing for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) strains that are causative in the development of cervical cancer. If a woman has normal appearing cells, and she is free of high-risk strains of HPV, her risk of developing a cervical cancer is almost zero over the next few years. Second, let me emphasize that the PAP smear is only one aspect of care given at an annual exam and women should continue to have a yearly preventive check-up with their gynecologist. With that in mind, the newer PAP smear guidelines are as follows. 

Women age 21 and under are not recommended to have PAP smears. These women should have annual health check-ups to include screening for STD’s as indicated, initiation of the HPV vaccine, birth control counseling as indicated and complete health maintenance. If a woman under the age of 21 has not become sexually active, she does not need to have a pelvic exam, and time will be spent on other important aspects of a young woman’s health care.

Women age 21-29 should have an annual exam, well, every year! PAP smears should be obtained as part of that exam every 1-2 years. HPV testing is recommended for those women whose cellular analysis reveals atypical cells on the PAP. Annual health check-ups include blood pressure and weight screening, breast and pelvic exam, STD screening, contraceptive care and family planning.

Women age 30-65 should have an annual exam, you guessed it, every year! During these years many important health screenings will be conducted in addition to a pelvic exam. Women will have blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid and diabetes screenings. Women will have regular breast exams and referrals for annual mammograms starting at age 40. Family planning, STD testing and contraceptive care is also included.  The PAP smear with HPV testing will be conducted every 3-5 years depending on the woman’s individual risk profile.

Women age 65 and older will follow current Medicare guidelines. In some women, PAP smears may be discontinued entirely, while others will have a PAP smear every 2 years. Women with HIV and/or a prior history of cervical cancer may be considered high risk and undergo annual PAP smear testing.

To summarize, all women should have an annual gynecological exam…every year! Many important aspects of woman’s health will be reviewed during that exam. Not sure what you should do? Starting last fall, women’s annual preventive exams are covered at 100% by commercial insurers, so give us a call at 512-836-2536 to schedule your exam. Our practice will have extra open exam slots for those patients needing to schedule before the end of the year. We are also offering a program for women who are without insurance to be able to get a preventive exam, PAP smear and gonorrhea/chlamydia testing.

Visit our website at or call us at 512-836-2536 if you have any questions or to schedule your annual exam. You can also learn more from ACOG Practice Bulletin 131 “Screening for Cervical Cancer”.

Capital Ob/Gyn at the BiGHealthCARE Conference

At Capital Ob/Gyn we are always looking for ways to invest in the community, and we are honored to get involved with causes and efforts that empower and support women.  Recently, Dr. Browne was invited to be a speaker at a local healthcare conference called BiGHealthCARE put on by BiGAUSTIN (Business Investment Growth) held November 1st.  She will be leading a breakout session on the topic of breast and cervical cancer at the conference.

BiGAUSTIN is helping put Central Texas back to work with the first summit of a three part series of Small Business @ Work Summit: BiG HealthCARE.  A 7-hour small business summit for women and female veterans interested in starting or maintaining a small business in the healthcare industry.  The summit will consist of panel discussions and breakout sessions, exhibit booths for providers and small business owners, complimentary continental Breakfast and Lunch, and networking session. Topics covered include: Healthcare & Entrepreneurship; Small Business Assistance; Veteran Women Resources; Wisdom, Women & Wealth; How to provide Quality Senior Care and Care giving; Do you have what it takes?; Trends in Heart Disease, Obesity, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol; Business Etiquette and much more.

This event highlights the challenges and opportunities for women owned businesses, while emphasizing the vast emerging healthcare needs of all women and the unique needs of veteran women.  Click Here to find out more details about this event and how you can join.

As always, if you want to schedule an appointment with any of our physicians, call 512.836.2536 or visit  We look forward to seeing you soon at Capital Ob/Gyn!

New Class Offering: Birth, Baby and You

You asked and we said “Absolutely!”  Upon popular demand, Capital Ob/Gyn is excited to offer a new class called “Birth, Baby and You”.  Join us Saturday, November 10th from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at Capital Ob/Gyn Associates of Texas (12201 Renfert Way, Ste 325 Austin, TX).

This  class is tailored to your needs and will cover pregnancy, the experience of labor and delivery, postpartum care of mommy and newborn, as well as lactation basics.  The class will conclude with a guided tour of St. David’s Women’s Center. We are excited to welcome Lillie Juan, RN NP as the instructor of this class.  Ms. Juan is a registered RN and nurse practitioner with extensive experience in routine and high-risk pregnancy care.

Invite a friend to join you and call today (512.836.2536) to reserve your spot!  Class enrollment is $50 for the expectant mother and the support person of their choice and payment must be made in advance via check or cash to Capital Ob/Gyn.

You don’t have to be a patient of Capital Ob/Gyn to attend one of our classes, but we think that once you get a glimpse of our style you will want to be!  The next class offering will be in January and we will keep you updated on the details.

To schedule an appointment with any of our physicians, call 512.836.2536 or visit  We look forward to seeing you soon at Capital Ob/Gyn!