Good prenatal care is important for the health of both mother and baby. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the obstetric team in the months leading up to the birth of your baby. While every pregnancy is different, the following are some general guidelines and tests which you can anticipate over the course of your care.
Please contact our office when you discover that you are pregnant. You will be scheduled to meet with the OB physician for a consultation. During this visit, your gynecologic and medical history will be reviewed extensively and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
For week-by-week information about your pregnancy including fetal development, you may want to visit the Pregnancy Calendar provided by About.com as a helpful online resource.
When to Call Us
- Unusual bleeding
- Water breaking
- Significant change in fetal movement. This includes decreased movement or no fetal movement in 6 or more hours. If the baby is less active than normal, have a light snack and lay down on your left side. Record any movements that you feel with your hand or internally. There should be at least 4 movements in one half hour.
First 14 Weeks
Your next visit will be with one of the OB physicians during which a complete physical and pelvic exam will be performed. Your physician will also provide counseling specific to you and answer any questions you may have. The first trimester screen will be offered to you between 11 – 14 weeks. This test involves blood work from you and an ultrasound to measure the thickness of the baby's neck. This is an optional screen for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18.
You will return for visits approximately every 4 weeks during the remainder of the first and second trimesters. Most of these will be brief visits during which we will measure your blood pressure, weight, and uterine growth. We will also listen to your baby's heartbeat and check your urine each time.
At 16 weeks, you will have the opportunity to have your blood drawn for the AFP or Quad Screen. The AFP only is an optional test which screens for spina bifida. The Quad Screen screens for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Spina Bifida.
At approximately 18 weeks you will have another ultrasound of your baby. This ultrasound is used to ensure that there are no major problems with your baby's growth and anatomy. If you wish to know the gender of your baby, we can usually tell you at this time. Further ultrasounds may be indicated later in the pregnancy should any complications arise.
Between 24-28 weeks, you will be screened for gestational diabetes. A "glucose" beverage will be given to you to drink when you arrive at the lab, and your blood sugar will be tested one hour later. You are not required to fast leading up to the test. You should plan for this visit to take about one hour.
Appointments will be scheduled at 2 week intervals from 28 to 36 weeks to follow your blood pressure, weight, urine, and baby's growth.
You and your partner are encouraged to participate in a birthing class through our hospital affiliates. The classes are helpful if this is your first baby or if you feel you might benefit from a refresher course. You will also be able to tour the birth center. Sign up early, as these classes can sometimes fill up. Ideally, you should plan to attend these classes around 32-36 weeks.
36 Weeks Until Delivery
Between 35-37 weeks, you will be tested for Group B streptococcus (GBS). This test involves a pelvic examination during which a culture is obtained from the vaginal and rectal areas. GBS is fairly commonly found in pregnant women, and has been associated with potentially severe infections in newborns who are exposed during delivery. If your culture is positive for GBS, you will receive intravenous antibiotics during your labor to reduce the risk of transmission to your baby.
You will be seen weekly from 36 weeks until your delivery to follow you for signs of labor or any complications. You may have your cervix checked during any of these visits if you wish. At 41 weeks, we will monitor your baby's heart rate with a nonstress test and check the amniotic fluid level with ultrasound. You will be assessed at this point for induction.
Pregnancy can be unpredictable, and the above guidelines can change depending upon your particular situation. The professional staff and ob-gyn doctors atFox Valley Women’s Comprehensive Health Care are available to answer any questions you may have.
Signs of Labor
- Contractions every 4-5 minutes
- ”Bloody show” or bleeding like a period (except immediately following an exam)
- “Water breaking” which is when a gush of fluid continues to leak from your vagina without control
- “Loosing your mucus plug” which is when you have a stringy, viscous discharge that may be tinged with blood. This in itself may not be an indication of labor.