What is Obstetrics?
Obstetrics is the area of healthcare in that focuses on pregnancy, maternal and fetal health, and childbirth. Whether you wish to become pregnant or are pregnant now, the staff at Grace Obstetrics and Gynecology is here to provide you with the comprehensive care you need in a comfortable, friendly environment.
When Should I See My Obstetrician?
Women who would like to become pregnant are encouraged to see their health care provider up to one year prior to pregnancy. Pre-conception care can foster optimal maternal health, and thus fetal development, by addressing physical and emotional needs early and consistently.
After conception, it is recommended that obstetric care begins by week 8 or 9. If you are unsure about your pregnancy, schedule a visit with us as soon as you wish after your home pregnancy test.
Pregnancy Confirmation Visit
The first visit is a pregnancy confirmation visit, your Grace provider will confirm your pregnancy with a blood or urine test. Once a pregnancy has been confirmed you will schedule your first OB visit.
Your First Prenatal Visit
Your initial visit for prenatal care will be your longest. This appointment is reserved for a full consultation, health history, and examination.
Pap smear screening and pelvic exam may be performed, depending on the date of your last well-woman checkup. From this visit onward, your blood pressure and other vitals will be measured, and a fetal heart rate may be obtained along with abdominal measurement.
Initial lab work may include:
- Blood type
- Urine culture
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Hepatitis screening
- Tuberculosis (TB) test
- STD screening
Blood Tests During Pregnancy
Blood testing is an integral aspect of prenatal care. Each blood test that is performed is intended to provide your healthcare provider with important information that indicates risk for pregnancy or birth complications. In some cases, genetic testing is performed to assess the likelihood of neural tube defects and other birth defects.
Why Am I Tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases are common and may not present symptoms. Routine testing for all women includes chlamydia and syphilis. If found, each of these conditions can be treated during pregnancy to decrease risk to mother and baby.
What You Need to Know About the Prenatal Ultrasound
Your first ultrasound may be performed at or soon after your initial intake appointment. This non-invasive imaging helps us determine the age of your fetus and enables us to observe heartbeat. The observation of the womb also alerts us to the presence of multiple babies. Milestones of pregnancy are loosely guided by this initial test.
Ultrasound imaging provides essential data as fetal development progresses, including the position of the placenta, as well as the fetus, overall growth and organ development, and the potential for birth defects. Women have the opportunity to undergo NT testing, or nuchal translucency screening, between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy. This two-part process involves lab work to measure certain proteins and hormones in the maternal blood, as well as ultrasound imaging to observe neck-thickness. The thickness of the base of the neck can indicate increased risk for trisomy 18 and Down syndrome.
Morning Sickness Relief
Mild morning sickness may cause a woman to feel nauseated for a short time each day. In severe cases, dehydration and weight loss may occur. Substantial nausea and vomiting can be treated by your healthcare provider. Do not hesitate to contact us if you do not feel relief with home remedies such as:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take the vitamins recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Eat bland foods that are easily digested, such as toast, applesauce, and rice.
- Avoid smells that trigger nausea.
- Drink ginger ale or homemade ginger tea, suck on ginger candies, or take ginger capsules to reduce nausea.
Is Bleeding During Pregnancy Serious?
Bleeding during pregnancy can indicate a problem or preterm labor if it occurs during the second or third trimester. Bleeding early in pregnancy may occur after intercourse or a Pap smear due to the increased development of cervical blood vessels.
If you experience bleeding or spotting during your pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider.
Can You Prevent Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy, increases a woman’s risk of Type II diabetes later in life. This same risk is increased for the baby born to a woman with gestational diabetes. Research suggests that the risk for this pregnancy-related condition can be reduced with healthy lifestyle habits.
- Consume a diet that is higher in fiber and lower in fat.
- Limit consumption of processed and sugary foods, including soda.
- Add more leafy greens to meals, balanced with lean protein.