Dr. Craig O’Dear has been an obstetrician and gynecologist since 1999. The field, he said, keeps him interested and challenged.

He is a 1995 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He completed his internship and medical residency at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut.

A physician affiliated with Alliance Community Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Canton, O’Dear delivers approximately 150 babies each year. He said he takes a holistic approach in helping patients maintain their health.

Here are some tips for people to maintain their reproductive health.

Tips for reproductive health

1. Avoid smoking, have a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight and exercise.

Issues such as diabetes, obesity or a lack of activity can result in a woman having difficulty in getting pregnant, he said. A problem such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, O’Dear said, can sometimes by remedied through weight loss and exercise.

2. Avoid STDs.

O’Dear calls for more emphasis on screenings for asymptomatic young women, who can contract chlamydia and not know it. Left untreated, it can cause sterility. In 2015, 15- to 24-year-olds made up two-thirds of diagnosed cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, the rate of STDs has increased for two consecutive years, with syphilis rising by 19 percent in 2015.

3. Women should begin getting Pap smears when they turn 21.

However, O’Dear recccommends that girls and younger women who may be having problems should not wait to seek help.

4. Ask about minimally invasive procedures.

O’Dear said medical technology has changed drastically in ways that benefit patients. The biggest difference is the transitions from open hysterectomies to minimally invasive procedures, such as laparoscopic surgery, O’Dear said, which drastically reduces hospitals stays and recovery time. In some cases, procedures even can be done in the office, he said.

5. Seek a physician who takes a holistic approach to health.

Because some people don’t have a primary physician, O’Dear said his office performs “gatekeeper” health screenings for such problems as depression or abuse.