Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! Whether this is your first child or you are adding another special, beautiful face to your family portrait, pregnancy can be challenging, exhausting, and exhilarating all at the same time. Ensuring a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby requires carefully navigating the stresses of your busy life with the demands that pregnancy places on your body. Regular, high-quality, personalized pre-natal care provided by the Board Certified obstetricians at Commonwealth OB-Gyn—from routine checkups and screenings to identification of and planning for high-risk pregnancies—will play a critical part in maintaining your own health, preparing for successful childbirth, and giving your unborn child the best possible start to life!
Why is pre-natal care so important?
The goal of pre-natal care is to safeguard your health and that of your unborn child throughout your entire pregnancy. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, children born to mothers who did not receive adequate prenatal health services are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die at birth than children born to mothers who received pre-natal care. Our prenatal services focus on three key areas:
- Your health: While in the womb, your baby’s health is almost entirely dependent on your health. Pre-natal visits will focus on monitoring and tracking weight gain and other normal changes your body goes through. We will also guide you through appropriate lifestyle choices, including the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, environmental and dietary elements that could pose a hazard to you and/or your child, the importance of folic acid and pre-natal vitamins, and appropriate diet and exercise choices.
- Your child’s health: Blood work, ultrasounds, and other routine screenings conducted regularly throughout your pregnancy will help us monitor the health of your child throughout the pregnancy, as well as enable us to identify potential health problems, illnesses, and birth defects as early as possible.
- Identification of at-risk pregnancies and potential complications: We like to believe that every pregnancy will be safe, easy, and worry-free, but unfortunately, reality is sometimes much more complicated. Our pre-natal services help identify potential problems in order to enable us to develop a robust, in-depth pre-natal care plan to incorporate pre-natal treatment when possible, plan for specialized care at and after birth, and in general minimize risks and complications as much as possible.
What does pre-natal care involve?
Standard pre-natal care for women under 35 with low-risk pregnancies involves regular visits with your obstetrician throughout your pregnancy; women with high-risk pregnancies or who are over 35 may require additional visits. In general, visits involve a preliminary, lengthy visit during the first trimester, then a once-monthly visit through week 28, twice a month from weeks 28 through 36, then weekly from week 36 until birth.
During your first pre-natal visit, your obstetrician will:
- Check your height, weight, and blood pressure
- Ask about your medical history
- Ask about your family’s medical history
- Conduct a comprehensive physical exam
At subsequent visits, your obstetrician will:
- Check your blood pressure
- Measure your weight gain
Some of these visits may also involve untrasounds, blood work, and other routine screenings, as well as more specialized tests if appropriate for at-risk pregnancies or for women who may be at higher risk for abnormalities due to age, personal or family history, ethnic background, or the results of a routine screening. Your physician will discuss these screenings as they are needed to ensure that you fully understand their purpose and importance to the safely of your pregnancy and your child.
Contact Commonwealth OB-Gyn
If you would like more information about our pre-natal care at Commonwealth OB-Gyn, or would like to learn more about our practice, our physicians, and our services, we encourage you to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to hearing from you!