Posts for category: Pregnancy Care
If you’ve just found out you are pregnant then you are probably getting ready to schedule your first prenatal care visit with your OBGYN. It’s important that you find an OBGYN that you trust, as they will be with you throughout your pregnancy providing care, monitoring the health of you and your baby, and offering important recommendations about your health, specific testing you should undergo and even creating your ideal birth plan.
If you aren’t dealing with a high-risk pregnancy then you won’t need to come in for prenatal care as often in the very beginning. As your pregnancy advances you’ll need to come in more regularly. If you are between the ages of 18 and 35 years old and healthy then you’ll need to come in for prenatal care about every 4 to 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks of your pregnancy. Once you reach the 32ndweek then you’ll need to come in every 2-3 weeks until the 37thweek. From the 37thweek until delivery you will need to see your obstetrician once a week.
The first prenatal visit is often the longest one. During your first visit you can expect to provide detailed information about you and your family’s medical history. You will also undergo a thorough physical exam, as well as urine and blood tests to look for any health problems. We will also measure your height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure and perform a breast exam and pelvic exam.
If necessary, your gynecologist may also choose to perform a Pap smear, STI testing, and other screening tests (e.g. anemia; diabetes). Depending on how far along you are, an ultrasound may also be performed during your first visit to determine how far along you are and your expected due date. We may even be able to listen to the fetal heartbeat.
This checkup is also a time to ask us any questions or address any concerns you may have about your pregnancy, from what foods to avoid to what prenatal vitamins you should take. We can offer up advice to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
It’s important that you schedule your first prenatal visit as soon as you get a positive home pregnancy test. Better yet, if you are planning on becoming pregnant it’s a good idea to see your gynecologist prior to getting pregnant for pre-pregnancy care.
Congratulations! You just found out you are going to have a baby. Now what? First and foremost, it is important that you and your unborn child get the proper care you both need over the next 9 months.
Your OBGYN will be an invaluable part of your medical team, as they will be able to not only provide you with a host of good advice for a healthy pregnancy, but also they can check for health issues in both you and your unborn child that could potentially cause further and more serious complications. Turning to an OBGYN regularly is vitally important for a healthy, complication-free pregnancy.
Of course, there are also some wonderful milestones to enjoy throughout the course of your pregnancy. Here are some things to look forward to before getting to meet the new addition to your family,
Baby’s First Ultrasound
Once you find out you’re pregnant, it’s important that you visit your OBGYN to confirm the pregnancy, determine your due date and to schedule your very first ultrasound. This first ultrasound can occur as early as between 6 weeks and 9 weeks and it allows your obstetrician to check your baby’s size and heart rate, while also checking the health of the placenta and umbilical cord. This is an exciting moment for parents, as they often get to hear their baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
The End of the First Trimester
We know that saying goodbye to the first trimester is high on most pregnant women’s lists. This is because most miscarriages occur during the first trimester. This is usually around the time that expectant mothers want to announce their pregnancy to family members and friends. Plus, if you were fighting terrible morning sickness during your first trimester you may be relieved to hear that a lot of these symptoms may lessen or go away completely once you reach the second trimester.
Feeling Your Baby Kick
Most expectant mothers can’t even describe how incredible it is to experience their baby kicking for the first time. Your baby’s kick may feel more like a flutter or tickle while other women may feel a nudging sensation. At some point, you may even see an indent of an arm or leg as your stomach expands and the baby grows.
Your Child’s Gender Reveal
While some parents don’t want to know whether they are having a boy or girl until that moment in the delivery room, some couples can’t wait to find out and share the news. In fact, gender reveal parties have become a popular trend today and once you find out whether you are having a little boy or girl you may just feel that exciting urge to start decorating the baby room.
Your Due Date
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: your baby’s expected birth date. While most babies won’t show up right on schedule, you may be experiencing some warning signs that labor is soon on the way and you’ll soon get to welcome your baby into the world.
Whether you think you might be pregnant or you already took a home pregnancy test that came back positive, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your OBGYN as soon as possible. Regular prenatal visits are the best way to monitor the health of both you and your baby while also tracking the development of the fetus. These visits are important for every pregnant woman, not just women who are dealing with health issues or a high-risk pregnancy.
During your first prenatal visit, which usually occurs after your eighth week of pregnancy, we will check your vitals (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.), and run blood and urine tests to test for current infections (including STDs) and to confirm your blood type (your blood type and the father’s blood type are important for the health of your child).
An ultrasound may also be performed to determine how far along you are in the pregnancy as well as your expected due date. A physical exam, including a pelvic exam, will be conducted. Your obstetrician will also take time to talk with you about your family history and your own detailed medical history.
It’s important to provide as much information as possible about any preexisting health conditions, surgeries and previous pregnancies you’ve had. This is also a great time to ask any questions you might have regarding diet, exercise, lifestyle or managing your pregnancy symptoms (e.g. morning sickness).
If all test results come back normal and you have a healthy pregnancy then you’ll only need to see your OBGYN every month for the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy. Once you reach 28 weeks you’ll come in twice a week until you are 36 weeks into your pregnancy. From 36 weeks until the birth of your baby you’ll have weekly checkups.
During these visits, your OBGYN may also run special tests to check for gestational diabetes and other conditions, depending on your family history and age. Genetic testing can also be performed to check the health of your child and to determine if there are any genetic disorders present.
It’s important that you find an obstetrician that you can trust to provide you with compassionate and thorough care and support throughout your pregnancy.
At some point during the course of your pregnancy, you will create a birth plan with your OBGYN. In your birth plan, you will decide what you do and don’t want throughout the course of your labor and delivery. You’ll decide everything from whether you want a natural birth to where you want to deliver your baby. While our goal is to ensure that you have a smooth and healthy delivery that goes along with your birth plan, certain issues can arise that may change this course.
There are issues that can arise during labor that affect how it’s supposed to progress. A challenging or difficult labor may be known as dystocia or dysfunctional labor. When labor becomes extremely slow, it may be known as a protraction of labor. If labor stops progressing altogether, it’s called an arrest of labor. An arrest of labor is when the cervix hasn’t dilated over the course of two hours and the baby hasn’t progressed at all down the birth canal.
When this happens, your obstetrician may administer oxytocin to the mother, which can help stimulate contractions needed to progress and advance labor. The amount of oxytocin that is administered will depend on the mother and other factors specific to the woman.
Another factor to consider is if your child is in the proper position for a safe and smooth delivery. In most situations, the head is the first to go through the birth canal; however, there are times when the buttocks (also referred to as a breech delivery) or shoulders may go first. Based on your baby’s position, the labor may be more challenging than if they are in an ideal position (e.g. head first).
In the case of a breech delivery, where the feet or buttock are first, babies are more likely to become injured during a vaginal delivery. A breech delivery is more likely if the baby is born prematurely, if the mother has uterine fibroids or if there is a birth defect. In some cases, your obstetrician may be able to get the baby to turn during labor so that there are no complications with a vaginal delivery; however, for the healthy and safety of the mother and the child, a cesarean section is often performed.
It’s impossible to know what will happen during the course of your labor or delivery, but it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your health and the health of your baby so you can have a smooth delivery. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to talk to your OBGYN.
Giving birth is one of the most exciting, beautiful, and difficult things many women will ever do. Taking care of yourself afterward may seem trivial in comparison with the demands of your new baby. However, postpartum care is a crucial part of recovering properly and getting yourself back into top physical health to provide the care your newborn requires.
What to Expect
- Vaginal Birth: You will experience soreness in your vaginal area, especially if you had a tear or episiotomy during the birth. You may feel afterpains, or mild contractions after giving birth. These will accompany several weeks of vaginal discharge called lochia, which presents itself as bright red and flows heavily during the first days after delivery, tapering off over the next few weeks. Bowel movements may be difficult and cause hemorrhoids.
- Caesarean Section: Caesarean sections require a longer hospital stay than a vaginal birth, usually around three to four days. After receiving pain medication, your doctors and nurses will encourage walking short distances to help with the buildup of gas within the abdomen. Many women find walking to be very difficult at first, but gets easier with time. You will also experience some vaginal bleeding in the days or weeks after delivery.
Postpartum care after a vaginal birth is different than caesarean section aftercare. After a vaginal delivery, sitting on a pillow or donut may help avoid pain from a tear or episiotomy. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are high in fiber can help keep stools soft if you have problems passing bowel movements. Your doctor can also prescribe stool softeners if necessary. Using an icepack or a frozen sanitary pad coated with witch hazel can help relieve discomfort and pain along with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Aftercare for a caesarean section begins during your hospital stay. Your doctor may administer narcotics like morphine to help with pain relief for the first day or two. After leaving the hospital, you will require as much help as possible. You may receive a prescription for pain relievers. Your incision will remain tender and sore for several weeks after delivery though it will heal gradually and feel better every day. Be sure to get plenty of rest and avoid lifting heavy items for at least eight weeks. Your scar will start out very obvious but shrink as you heal.