What If Your Family Doctor Isnt Available
Some doctors, particularly those who are in high demand or who are only working part-time, can be booked out up to one week in advance. If your family doctor isnt available immediately and you dont want to wait, consider making an appointment with another local doctor. He or she will be able to confirm your positive pregnancy test and help to answer any initial questions or concerns that you may have.
Where Will I Give Birth
Early in your pregnancy, youll want to think about where you want to deliver your baby. A large majority of women deliver their babies in a hospital. This is the safest place to deliver. But you can also deliver at a birthing center or at home. Several factors will influence where you decide to have your baby. These include:
- Where your doctor delivers. Many women choose their provider and then deliver their baby wherever that doctor practices.
- What your insurance covers. Some insurance policies may not cover a birthing center or a home delivery.
- If your pregnancy is high-risk.Women with high-risk pregnancies should deliver at a hospital. This ensures there will be back-up services and medical interventions available if something goes wrong.
- Where you live. Some states are friendlier to birthing center or home births than others. Check your state regulations before you decide where to deliver. You may also be limited based on what hospitals or birthing centers are nearby.
Where you want to give birth may also determine who your doctor will be. For example, if you want to use a birthing center or your home to give birth, youll need to find a doctor willing to deliver there.
Will I Have The Baby
The first decision you need to make when you find out youre pregnant is whether you are going to have the baby. This can be a difficult decision. There is a lot to think about. You have to make the decision that is right for you. Consider your personal situation and your beliefs. You have several options:
- You can continue the pregnancy and raise the baby.
- You can continue the pregnancy and create an adoption plan to allow someone else to raise the baby.
- You can end the pregnancy.
If youre not sure what to do, talk to someone you trust. This could be your babys father, a family member, a friend, your doctor, or a minister or rabbi. Learn about all of your options. Getting more information can help you make your decision. It can also help you feel more confident about your decision.
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When Do You See A Doctor When Pregnant
The first prenatal appointment usually takes place in the second month, between week 6 and week 8 of pregnancy. Be sure to call as soon as you suspect you re pregnant and have taken a pregnancy test. Some practitioners will be able to fit you in right away, but others may have waits of several weeks .
What Happens At My First Medical Visit For Prenatal Care
The first visit is designed to confirm your pregnancy and to determine your general health. In addition, the visit will give your healthcare provider clues to any risk factors that may affect your pregnancy. It will typically be longer than future visits. The purpose of the prenatal visit is to:
- Find out your health history
- Explore the medical history of family members
- Determine if you have any pregnancy risk factors based on your age, health and/or personal and family history
You will be asked about previous pregnancies and surgeries, medical conditions and exposure to any contagious diseases. Also, notify your healthcare provider about any medications you have taken or are currently taking.
Do not hesitate to ask your provider any question you may have. Most likely, those are the questions your provider hears most often!
Here are some questions you may want to ask. Print or write them down, add to them, and take them to your appointment.
- What is my due date?
- What are the specific recommendations regarding weight gain, exercise and nutrition?
- What activities, foods, substances should I avoid?
- Can I have sex while I am pregnant?
- For what symptoms should I call you?
- What is the definition of a high-risk pregnancy? Am I considered to be high risk?
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What If Im Not Sure I Want To Be Pregnant
If youre pregnant and dont feel ready to be a parent and dont want to have a baby, you have options, including adoption or abortion.
Some people find it helpful to talk with their partner, a supportive family member, friends, or a therapist if theyre considering termination or adoption. You can also ask your doctor for guidance and support.
No matter what you choose, having a support system before, during, and after can be very beneficial.
Just remember: The decision to continue or terminate your pregnancy is yours alone to make. No one should pressure you to make a decision youre not comfortable with. You alone know whats right for you.
A Counseling Session With A Doctor
Here is a little known fact about doctors: They really wish that you would get in to see them and counsel with them before you get pregnant, rather than after. That way they can react to a medical problem you might have before the pregnancy, rather than afterward, when it might be too late. It’s particularly important with women who might have medical considerations factoring into their pregnancy.
At this point, the doctor could tell you what your options for pregnancy are and whether or not you’re a high-risk patient. Factors that might be important to discuss with your doctor ahead of time are:
- Current health and past medical history
- Age of mother
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Be Sure Youre Taking Your Vitamins
Ideally, youve already been taking a daily multivitamin, even before conception. However, make sure your vitamin of choice has folic acid. If it doesnt, start taking a folic acid supplement. A prenatal vitamin or multivitamin with folate can help prevent birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord.
Next Steps After A Positive Pregnancy Test
Take a deep breath! Whether the pregnancy is desired and planned, or if its completely unexpected, its really common to get that positive test and feel a huge wave of anxiety, says Dr. Jhaveri. The whole process is new. Theres the thought youre creating a new life and are responsible for it all of thats incredibly daunting.
After the test, call your doctor and schedule a visit. However, dont think youll need to get an appointment that very day or even the next day. Usually, the first visit is between seven to nine weeks from your last menstrual period. You dont have to be seen right away, says Dr. Jhaveri. Its okay to process those emotions, take a deep breath and know that youve done the right thing by calling.
While you are waiting for your first doctor visit, there are things you can do to start preparing for your pregnancy.
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What Is The Best Way To Test For Hormone Levels
Conventionally, the sex hormones are almost always tested in blood. But because this does not show true bioavailable hormone levels, salivary or urinary testing is not only more accurate, but also more convenient. For the hormones we test that are often imbalanced, saliva testing for hormonesgives us the best indication of what is available in your body. There are some hormones, however, that are better tested through blood such as thyroid hormones.
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Lots Of Watery Discharge
Biggest concern between 24 to 36 weeks of pregnancy
If you’re near the end of your pregnancy, a discharge probably means your water has broken. But if you suddenly experience a gush of fluids anytime before 37 weeks, call your doctor pronto. It might be a sign that your amniotic sac has ruptured and you’re going into preterm labor. But don’t assume the worse as you head the hospital: “Women immediately think that their water has broken too early, when in reality the baby may have just kicked them hard in the bladder and they lost some urine,” says Dr. Flamm.
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What Does A Blood Pregnancy Test Tell
A blood pregnancy test not only tells whether you are pregnant or not but can find out many other things.
If your urine has some proteins or color, then urine pregnancy test will not be accurate. In this case, the doctor will opt out of taking a urine pregnancy test.
However, you will have to provide a sample of urine for most of the prenatal pregnancy tests.
A condition called Preeclampsia is the abnormally elevated blood pressure of a pregnant woman. It is a symptom of this condition that urine has protein.
For diagnosis of Preeclampsia or Toxemia, youll have to give a urine sample.
What Factors Determine The Outcome Of You And Your Baby’s Health
Many events determine the outcome of a pregnancy.
Maternal weight gain: The amount of weight a woman gains when pregnant can be important in predicting the outcome of pregnancy. Excess weight gain places a woman who is pregnat at risk for diabetes and hypertension, and it may increase the chance for needing a cesarean birth . Too little weight gain places the infant at risk for interuterine growth restriction and the mother at risk for anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and osteoporosis.
Nausea and vomiting: Even if a pregnant patient experiences what seems like an abnormal amount of nausea and vomiting , it probably will not affect the baby’s health, particularly if the woman is still gaining weight at the anticipated rate.
Low or high red blood cell counts: The normal red blood cell count range varies slightly between laboratories, but is generally 4.2 – 5.9 million red cells per microliter. The risk of delivering prematurely is increased if the woman’s blood count is low . Low blood counts also put her at risk of requiring a transfusion following a delivery. If the woman’s blood count is too high , her baby may be larger than expected.
Maternal obesity: A person with a body mass index over 30 is considered obese. If a woman who is pregnant is obese and has diabetes, her baby is three times more likely to have a birth defect. If she is obese but does not have diabetes, the risk of birth defects is not increased.
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Q: Should I See A Maternal
A:It can be beneficial to consult with a maternal-fetal medicine specialistbefore pregnancy if you have one of the following:
- Pre-existing medical condition. There are many pre-existing medical conditions that may need to be monitored in relation to pregnancy, e.g., diabetes , lupus , renal disease and hypertension . In some instances, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist may alter the type of medication youre taking to maintain your health and prevent any adverse effects to your future pregnancies. If you have diabetes, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist can help you optimize your blood sugar control prior to conception to help reduce the risk of fetal anomalies. If you struggle with obesity , a maternal-fetal medicine specialist can review the benefits of weight loss before pregnancy. According to Henderson, Losing weight in a healthy manner can reduce your risk of developing conditions such as hypertension and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Genetic risks. Preconception genetic screening has become more common in recent years as technology has advanced and testing has become more accessible. If you have family members with a certain disease or if you belong to an ethnicity that has a greater risk of developing specific conditions , genetic screening can be used to assess your and your partners risk of being a carrier. Also, common genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy , can be screened for with a blood test.
Give Personalized Advice On Getting Pregnant
Finally, get ready for a birds-and-bees refresher. Even among educated women, there are still many misconceptions around sex and pregnancy, says Grundland. Your doctor can explain how to know when youre ovulating and optimize timing to when youre most likely to conceive.
You doctor may also review any personal risk factors that might make it harder for you to conceive, such as age or a family history of infertility, and let you know what to expect .
Dont forget that this appointment is a great time for you to ask any of your own questions about getting pregnant, from how to find an OB-GYN to what to expect after going off the birth control pill. After that, its time for the fun part: trying to make a baby!
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Manage Your Early Pregnancy Symptoms
The first few weeks of pregnancy can be the toughest when it comes to feeling iffy. Tiredness, sore boobs and morning sickness are all common in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Find out how to cope with them.
There are some symptoms that could be a sign that something is wrong. Be aware of these with our symptom checker and get in touch with a midwife promptly if you have them.
Do Your Ob/gyn Homework
After you have chosen a hospital, look at the list of physicians who practice there and compare them to doctors who are on your insurance plan. Then, narrow down the list and start digging. I dont entirely trust online reviews, although I have friends who have used them to select a physician. I prefer a personal approach ask family, friends, and colleagues who they have used. Also, call practices and ask if their physicians will talk to patients before enrolling them for care.
Some women reverse this process they find a physician and agree to deliver at the hospital where the physician practices regularly. This is fine, but if having your specific doctor present at the delivery is important to you, make sure to find out their call coverage arrangements ahead of time. Its pretty unusual these days to find an Ob/Gyn who delivers babies for all of their own patients. Youll likely see your Ob/Gyn through prenatal care and deliver with the doctor on staff when you go into labor.
Ask about the doctors and delivery teams philosophies on issues that are important to you, such as:
- Having a doula present or a birth plan in place
- Vaginal delivery if youve had a C-section in the past
- Their availability for questions during and after office hours
You cant predict what pregnancy, labor, and delivery will bring. But, you can get an idea of your doctors approach to care and how they and the delivery team may respond in certain situations.
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What Monitoring May Be Necessary During Your Pregnancy
Electronic fetal monitoring: Sometimes late in pregnancy, a woman who is pregnant may be placed on a fetal monitor to verify the health of the fetus or to see if the woman is in early labor.
Biophysical Profile Test: This is a noninvasive test uses ultrasound to assess whether or not the baby is receiving an adequate supply of oxygen. It is typically performed during high risk pregnancies or if a woman has gone past her due date.
Will I Have Prenatal Screenings Or Prenatal Diagnosis Tests Done
Prenatal screenings and diagnostic tests are tests your doctor performs while you are pregnant. They are done to check for any health problems with the baby before it is born. Problems could include birth defects, genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, or diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Screenings are usually done early in the pregnancy with blood tests or ultrasound. They detect risks for or signs of a possible health problem. Diagnostic tests can confirm or rule out specific health problems in you or your baby. Most genetic testing is now done through free fetal DNA . For this test, the mothers blood is taken and the small amounts of fetal DNA found in it are amplified. Then, that genetic material is analyzed to test for fetal genetic disorders. If this test reveals a disorder, your doctor may then want to confirm the diagnosis by doing an amniocentesis. For this test, your doctor will collect a sample of your amniotic fluid.
Screenings and diagnostic tests can be helpful to let you know if your baby might have problems when it is born. But sometimes they can cause added worry or concern. In many cases, prenatal screening is a choice. For example, if your doctor suggests your baby be screened for Down syndrome during your pregnancy, that is a choice. Some screening tests can increase your chance of miscarriage or other problems. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the tests.
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What Else Should I Know
For your baby’s sake and yours, it’s important to take especially good care of yourself during your pregnancy. Follow these basics:
- Eat a healthy diet.
Over-the-counter medicines are generally considered off-limits because of their potential effects on the fetus. Most doctors recommend not taking any OTC medicines if possible, but might offer a list of those they think are safe. Be sure to discuss any questions about medicines with your doctor.
When you’re pregnant, it’s also important to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life-threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage. Foods to steer clear of include:
- soft, unpasteurized cheeses such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
- unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
- raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse and tiramisu
- raw or undercooked meats, fish, or shellfish
- processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats
Also avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, tuna steak ,and tilefish. Fish and shellfish can be an extremely healthy part of your pregnancy diet because they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat. But these types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can damage the developing brain of a fetus.
Physical Changes of Pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause a number of uncomfortable changes, including: