The birth of each baby has a long lasting impact on the physical and mental health of mother, baby, and family. We are able to offer you information on the role of a birth assistant, a DOULA, which is a positive contribution to the care of women in labor. Your first prenatal visit may take up to two hours to complete. A full history and physical will be performed. Diagnostic laboratory studies you can expect to have done will include:
- Pap smear
- Blood type and Rh
- Complete blood count
- Antibody testing
- HIV testing
- Hepatitis B testing
- Syphilis screening
- Rubella screening
- Diabetic Screening if you are over the age of 25 or have a family history of diabetes…or if at your first visit, you are approaching your 26th week. Screening of genetic disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia, Trisomy 21 and 18, Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs or Canavan’s Disease is offered if appropriate.
- Vaginal or Pelvic Ultrasound may be completed at your first visit depending on a variety of factors, to confirm your due date.
Genetic Counseling will be offered at this time if you are over the age of 35, have had more than 2 subsequent miscarriages, a stillborn infant, or a child who died in infancy. Genetic counseling is also offered if you are concerned you may have an inherited disorder or birth defect, or you are concerning that your job, lifestyle, or medical history may pose a risk to your pregnancy ( for example…exposure to radiation, medications, chemicals, infection, or drugs.)
Genetic Counseling is also helpful if you desire additional information regarding genetic defects within your ethnic group. Couples that are first cousins or close relatives would also benefit from counseling. Genetic Counseling will be offered to you if your Maternal Serum Quad Screen screen is abnormal so you can review your options related to this screening procedure. The choice for this service is truly your decision based on the recommendations from your doctor.
Please be advised that while good prenatal care can significantly decrease harmful risks to you and your baby, there are no guarantees that a pregnancy will proceed without any complications.
Miscarriage occurs in approximately 20% of all pregnancies, due to no fault of the parents. Concerns related to pregnancy loss or miscarriage are normal. Mild bleeding or spotting, heaviness or fullness, cramping in the lower abdomen can be normal the first trimester. Acetominophen (Tylenol), bedrest, and increased fluid intake can help alleviate these symptoms. However, severe menstrual cramps and heavy vaginal bleeding can indicate an imminent miscarriage and should be evaluated immediately.
Follow up prenatal visits will be much shorter in duration. Your weight, blood pressure, urine, fundal height (uterine size), and infant heart tones will be checked at each visit. During the first 28 weeks, your visits will normally be every 4 weeks. From 29 to 36 weeks, you will visit every 2 weeks. In your final month, you will visit us every week. Certain conditions may require more frequent visits. A pelvic exam is performed at 37 weeks to ensure the position of your baby and to check for cervical dilation.