Pregnancy & Prenatal Care
If you just found out you’re pregnant, we would like to offer our sincerest congratulations! We know how much of a whirlwind this time of life is and we are here to help you get your feet back on the ground. At Creekside Center for Women, we focus on making those first steps, and every step along the way, simple and informed. Prenatal Care is incredibly important and we will be with you throughout this exciting time in your life.
After you find out you are pregnant, your first prenatal visit will be scheduled for 8 weeks into your pregnancy. During this first visit you will meet with a dedicated prenatal nurse.
First Prenatal Visit: You can expect your nurse to:
You will also have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as blood work to check for anemia, your blood type, HIV, and other factors. Other tests might be offered based on your age, personal or family health history, your ethnic background, or the results of routine tests you have had.
Your next appointment will be at 12 weeks. During this appointment you will meet with your chosen pregnancy provider and can even hear the heart tones of your baby.
Second Prenatal Visit: You can expect your doctor to:
Early monitoring and on-going care during pregnancy is vital for a peaceful birthing experience. Before and during pregnancy, you’ll meet with your doctor to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. These checkups help to prevent preterm delivery, anticipate difficulties and complications at delivery, and assist you and your partner in preparation for parenting.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, experts suggest you see your doctor:
If you are older than 35 or if your pregnancy is high risk, your doctor will more than likely suggest frequent visits. While most women in their late 30s and early 40s have healthy babies, health risks do go up for women who become pregnant later in life.
Monthly Prenatal Visits: Going forward, prenatal visits will most likely be shorter since most of your information has already been collected. Your doctor will check on your health and make sure the baby is growing healthy and as expected. Most prenatal visits will include measuring your weight, checking your blood pressure and checking the baby’s heart rate.
Full-term Visits: Around 36-38 weeks, your doctor will work with you to anticipate any problems. The doctor will check for the position of the baby to see if a C-section is necessary. With your preferred birthing routine set, you will also finalize the place for the delivery. This is also a good time to clear up any discussions and questions between you and your caregiver.
Your baby is growing quickly and changing every day. It’s both breathtaking and important to know what stage of growth your baby is in during each month.
During your first trimester, your body will notice many changes. It is important to know what is normal for pregnancy during this time and what is not. Early in the pregnancy, light spotting is common however, if you have significant bleeding, or sharp pain in your abdomen, call your doctor. These could be signs of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Sore breasts are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and are triggered by hormonal changes preparing your body to nurse. As your body works hard to support a growing fetus, it is important that you rest when you need to throughout the day. While your body might start craving food you don’t usually eat, make sure you are still giving your body its proper nutrients to support you and your baby. Heartburn and nausea are also very common pregnancy symptoms during this time.
Month 1: After 4 weeks, a home pregnancy test would show as positive. Your baby is developing the structures that will eventually form the face and neck. The heart and blood vessels continue to grow as the lungs, stomach, and liver start to develop.
Month 2: Between the first and second month, your baby’s heart will begin to beat as your baby now measures a little over half an inch in size. As eyelids and ears are forming, you begin to see the tip of the nose. At this point the arms and legs are well formed and digits such as fingers and toes grow longer and more distinct.
Month 3: At this time, your baby is now 2 inches and will start to move in the womb. Some women start to feel movement at the top of their uterus.
For many women, the second trimester is the least difficult three months during the pregnancy. During the second trimester, your baby is growing quickly and your energy will be restored. Between your 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy you’ll have an ultrasound where you can check on the health and even learn the sex of your baby. Other common symptoms during this time include headache, backache, breast enlargement/tenderness, constipation, discharge, hemorrhoids, skin changes, hair growth, spider veins and weight gain.
Month 4: Your baby now measures a little bigger than 4 inches and weighs about 3.5 ounces. The baby’s eyes can blink and the heart and blood vessels are fully formed. The smaller details are falling into place as your baby’s fingers and toes develop fingerprints.
Month 5: Your baby should weigh about 10 ounces and is a little more than 6 inches long. Here is where your baby starts to show personality. At the fifth month of pregnancy, your baby can suck their thumb, yawn, stretch and make faces. When you hit the 20-week mark, your caregiver will typically call you back in for an ultrasound. Your doctor will then make sure that the placenta is attached normally and that your baby is healthy and growing properly. Now, this is the really exciting part. At 20 weeks, your doctor can usually find out the sex of your baby!
Month 6: The baby should weigh about 1.4 pounds at this point. Your baby will also start to respond to sounds by moving around in the womb or showing an increase in his pulse.
Your third trimester is where you will see rapid growth of your baby and you could even start to feel mild contractions, which are just warm-ups to prepare your uterus for the real labor to come. These contractions are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Other common symptoms during this time includes shortness of breath, swelling, and continued weight gain.
Month 7: The baby weighs about 2.6 pounds and changes position often. At month 7, there is a good chance that a premature baby would survive. Ask your doctor about preterm labor warning signs.
Month 8: The baby weighs almost 4 pounds and is moving around often. The baby’s fat starts to form under the skin helping with weight gain. Between now and delivery, your baby will gain up to half his birth weight. Most women go to the doctor every two weeks at this stage of pregnancy.
Month 9: Babies differ in size and every pregnancy is different and unique to the individual experiencing it. Your baby’s size could change depending on many factors, such as gender, the number of babies being carried, and size of the parents. On average, a baby at this stage is nearing 18.5 inches and weighs close to 6 pounds. As your baby’s brain develops rapidly, their lungs near being fully developed and their head usually positions down into the pelvis to prepare for birth. A baby is considered at ‘term’ when he is 37 weeks. Early term babies include those born between 37-39 weeks, at term babies include those born at 39-40 weeks and late term includes any children born after that time.
Diet During Pregnancy
All pregnant women should be very careful with everything they choose to put in their body. While most women know that drugs and alcohol are a very serious mistake during pregnancy, not as many women know that even medicines should be reviewed and approved by a doctor. Whether prescribed or over-the-counter, all medicine needs to be discussed with your caregiver.
During pregnancy, it is important to make sure you and your baby are receiving proper amounts of vitamins and minerals. Folic acid is a primary ingredient in most prenatal vitamins. A caregiver can suggest which prenatal vitamin is right for you so that you can make sure you are getting enough folic acid.
Your diet during this time is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Remember to keep a variety of food groups in your diet to ensure proper nutrition for you and your baby. Folic acid can be found in leafy greens, citrus fruits, bread and beans. Meat and other sources of protein like eggs and poultry provide B vitamins and iron needed during pregnancy. Protein become increasingly important as your baby develops, especially in the second and third trimesters.
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