The goal of obstetrics and the prenatal care we provide at Craig Ranch OB/GYN is to keep both you and your future baby healthy. Some of this care will involve testing, some of it will be counseling on what to expect, some is simply being there through the more difficult parts of the process.
What Is Obstetrical Care?
Obstetrical care, or prenatal care, consists of the checkups provided from our combination of doctors, nurses, and midwives throughout your pregnancy. The goal is to keep tabs on the various milestones of your pregnancy and to help keep mother and baby healthy and on the path for a successful delivery.
The Importance Of Prenatal Care
No one should go down this path alone, and prenatal care at Craig Ranch OB/GYN is important for you, and your baby, to stay as healthy as possible during the process. By monitoring both your progress and your baby’s we can find any potential problems as early as possible and treat or address them. Our care can help prevent certain issues from occurring at all. There’s a lot going on with you and your baby, and your body will be changing dramatically. We’ll help you understand what is happening and help guide you through your pregnancy.
When Should I First See My Obstetrician At Craig Ranch OB/GYN?
Our team would like to see you as soon as you know you’re pregnant. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, we’d like to see you before you do. This is called pre-pregnancy care and it has both educational and health components to it.
How Often Should I Have Prenatal Care Visits?
There is some variability in the frequency of your prenatal visits with us. This depends, in part, on your age and on your risk of potential complications. Therefore, high-risk pregnancies will likely dictate more frequent appointments. This is the schedule of prenatal care for a healthy woman between the ages of 18 and 35:
- Every 4 to 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks
- Every 2 to 3 weeks for the 32nd to 37thweeks
- Every week from the 37th week through delivery
What to Expect During your First Prenatal Care Appointment
Your first prenatal care appointment is typically the most involved. We’ll discuss your personal medical history, your family history, and the history of the other parent. We conduct a full physical exam, including blood work and urine testing. During this visit we will likely:
- Measure your height, weight, blood pressure, breath rate, and pulse
- Examine your breasts
- Take a Pap test
- Test you for various STDs
- Screen for diabetes, anemia, hepatitis B, and rubella
Our providers will also want to get you on prenatal vitamins, particularly folic acid, if you’re not already on them. We will discuss things like your diet during pregnancy, lifestyle choices, and changes you may want to make in your life to help ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible.
"We absolutely love everyone at Craig Ranch, from the front office girls, to the nurses & amazing physicians! Everyone is SO sweet & always seems to know you by name! So personal, and take amazing care of you before, during & after pregnancy! We highly recommend any of their physicians!"
– Cory S.
"I absolutely love this office. The staff is so friendly and they take time to get to know you on a personal level. They are always willing to accommodate your needs and make your experience a good one. They are prompt on taking you back and prompt on returning your phone calls. I wouldn’t choose another location. I highly recommend this office.”
What Medications Can I Take During Pregnancy?
Generally, women are strongly encouraged to avoid any medication that has not been prescribed during their first trimester. That said, we understand that there may be times when it is medically necessary to take over-the-counter medication to remedy common complaints. Many medications are safe to take as needed. Before you take any medication, it is best to speak with your doctor.
Examples of medications that are considered safe to use during pregnancy include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief
- Antacids such as Tums
- Benadryl tablets for allergies
- Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra
- Saline nasal spray
- Neti-pot nasal rinse
- Fiber supplements such as Metamucil®
What Vitamins are Most Important During the Prenatal Period?
There are several nutrients that you can take to support a healthy pregnancy. However, a few have been listed as essential. These include:
- Folate. This B-vitamin has been shown to support optimal brain and spinal cord development. As such, it is recommended as a preventive supplement to guard against anencephaly and Spinal Bifida.
- Iron. Iron deficiency, known as anemia, depletes the blood of healthy red blood cells. Without a sufficient amount of healthy red blood cells, the body's organs may not receive adequate oxygenation. During pregnancy, anemia can rob the growing fetus of healthy oxygen flow.
- Calcium. During pregnancy, calcium from the mother's bones is directed toward fetal development. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy helps to restore mother's calcium levels so she and her baby are both well-supported. Calcium is important for the nervous, muscular, and circulatory systems, as well as normal heart rhythm.
- Vitamin D. This "sunshine vitamin", taken in the form of D3, supports brain function, mood, immunity, and blood pressure. According to studies, fractures and abnormal bone growth in newborns have been associated with vitamin D deficiency.
- Iodine. Iodine is necessary for optimal thyroid function. A baby's thyroid becomes active during the first trimester of pregnancy. At that time, the only thyroid hormone to draw from is the mother's. Thyroid hormones are integral to brain development and healthy brain function. To avoid deficiencies in herself and her baby, the mother should take an iodine supplement.
Is It Okay to Exercise During Pregnancy?
There are many reasons to exercise during pregnancy. Doing so can ease constipation, reduce back pain, and decrease the risks of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Exercise is beneficial to the heart and blood vessels and may also make it easier to lose weight after your baby is born. That said, you should engage in appropriate exercises for your pregnancy and general health. Your obstetrician will consult with you about the types of exercise that may be ideal for you as well as those that you should avoid. Examples of healthy, safe exercise during pregnancy include riding a stationary bike, swimming, (prenatal) yoga and Pilates classes, and low-impact aerobics.
While exercise provides a number of benefits during a healthy pregnancy, there are situations in which exercise is not recommended. Your obstetrician can discuss the circumstances in which they would advise against exercise or would want to modify the aspects of exercise. Examples include severe anemia, preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and being pregnant with multiple babies.
What is Gestational Age?
The gestational period is the time between conception and birth. Gestational age is the "age" of the pregnancy; the measurement of how far along a pregnancy is. Knowing your gestational age helps you know where your baby is in their developmental process, such as how big they may be and whether they have formed various body parts like fingers and toes. Gestational age is referred to in weeks, beginning on the first day of your last period. There are two periods of gestational age. The first, the embryonic period, ends at week 10 of pregnancy. From week 10 to birth, you are in the fetal stage. Your pregnancy ultrasound is one way in which your doctor measures gestational age.
My Husband and I Have Not Been Able to Get Pregnant, When Should We Seek Help for Infertility?
Historically, couples have been advised to seek help for infertility if they have not conceived after one year of having unprotected sex. However, women over the age of 35 are advised to seek a medical evaluation if they have not conceived within six months of trying. Furthermore, there are several factors that may contribute to fertility issues. Examples include polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS, a family history of BRCA and breast cancer, and endometriosis. Ultimately, when you seek to understand more about your infertility is completely up to you. You and your OBGYN work as a team to help you achieve your family goals.
Additional Prenatal Visits
Patients will need to have several follow-up appointments during their pregnancy. However, these appointments won’t be as involved as your first one. Expectant mothers are always checked to be sure they are healthy as well as their fetus. Throughout these appointments, our goal is to have an ongoing give and take of information between you and our team. These are things we may do at these visits:
- Check your urine
- Check for swelling
- Feel your belly to check the position of your fetus
- Update your medical history
- Take your weight and blood pressure
- Measure the growth of your belly
- Listen to the fetal heartbeat
- Give you any genetic testing you have decided upon
What Testing Is Done During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy many tests are performed, most of which are routine. Genetic testing can be a part of these tests, such as amniocentesis. Amniocentesis tests your amniotic fluid, the fluid surrounding and protecting your fetus inside your uterus. Amniocentesis can detect chromosomal defects, such as Down syndrome. We may suggest amniocentesis if you are over 35 years old, you have a family history of certain birth defects, you’ve had a previous child with a major birth defect, or other screening tests point to the need for more detailed testing.
The following are the basic tests we will perform based on your trimester. Of course, every pregnancy is unique, so these tests can vary.
- Urine tests
- Rh factor tests
- Initial blood work-up
- Pap smear
- Quad screen
- Level 2 ultrasound
- Glucose screening
- Non-stress test
- Biophysical profile
- Group B strep