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Prenatal Care By: Kathleen Joyce and Jennifer Meagher.

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1 Prenatal Care By: Kathleen Joyce and Jennifer Meagher

2 The First Doctor’s Visit This usually happens during the first 6 to 8 weeks into the pregnancy. Things to expect during this visit includes a full physical, a urine sample, and blood work to do a series of tests. Blood tests include a complete blood cell count, screening for Rh antibodies, sexually transmitted diseases, screening for previous exposure to chicken pox, measles, mumps, or German measles, and for cystic fibrosis. The urine sample is used to do a Pap test for cervical cancer.

3 Routine Doctor’s Appointments After your first doctor’s appointment you will visit your doctor every 4 weeks until the 28 th week of pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, and finally once week until delivery. During these routine visits your doctor will measure to make sure that your babies size if equal to the babies age, check your blood pressure, check your urine, and check the babies heart beat. These routine visits are very important for the health of the mother and the baby. It will help to establish a strong relationship with your doctor before delivery which will help the mother feel more comfortable. It is also a time to ask the doctor any questions you have about your pregnancy or express any concerns. It is important to let your doctor know how you are doing to ensure that nothing is harming the baby.

4 Questions For Your Doctor When is my due date? Do I need prenatal vitamins? Are the symptoms that I am experiencing normal? If not, what can I do to prevent them from occurring? Is there anything I can take for morning sickness? What are the recommendations for my weight gain, nutrition, exercise, and other activities? Am I considered a high risk pregnancy?


6 Alpha-fetoprotein screening This test is performed between 16 and 18 weeks in the pregnancy. This tests the level of alpha-fetoprotein levels in the mother’s blood. (alpha-fetoprotein is a protein produced by the fetus) If the level is too high it means that the mother may be carrying more than one baby or the baby she is carrying has spinal bifida or other neural tube defects. If the level is too low it may mean that the baby has chromosome abnormalities


8 Amniocentesis This test is performed between 15 and 20 weeks in the pregnancy. This tests the amniotic fluid from the womb. A needle is injected into the mother’s stomach to extract the fluid. In order to see where to place the needle the doctor must perform an ultrasound. This test can determine if your baby has certain fetal abnormalities including Down syndrome or spina bifida. This test is only recommended for women over the age of 35 or women who have a family history of the conditions being tested for. Women having this test performed are at risk of miscarriage.


10 Chronic villus sampling This test is performed during the first trimester of the pregnancy. During this test a sample of the tissue that attaches the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus is taken. Women have this test done for the same reasons as having amniocentesis done; if there are any risks of having a child with certain illnesses or deformities. Advantages of CVS is that the results are available sooner. There is an increased risk of miscarriage.


12 Ultrasound This test is usually performed between 18-20 weeks into the pregnancy. Normally women only need to have this test performed once during their pregnancy. However it may be performed earlier or later and more then once during the pregnancy. This test is done to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally and to verify the due date of the baby. This test allows the mother to see a rough image of her baby. The doctor can determine the gender of the baby through this test. There is no risk to the baby for having an ultrasound performed.


14 Symptoms to Expect During Pregnancy During pregnancy you may experience some very uncomfortable or painful symptoms. Most symptoms are not serious but it is a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure that everything you are experiencing is normal. Symptoms of pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, leg swelling, varicose veins in the legs and the area around the vaginal opening, hemorrhoids, heartburn, constipation, backache, fatigue, and sleep loss.

15 Signs of Possible Serious Problems It is important to look out for signs of any serious problems that may affect you and your baby. These signs include vaginal bleeding, pain with urination, severe headaches, blurry vision or spots before eyes, dizziness, severe abdominal pain, stopping or slowing down of the baby’s movement, fever, chills, leakage or gush of fluid from the vagina. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your doctor immediately.

16 Diet Pregnancy is NOT a time to start dieting but it is a good time to start establishing a healthy and balanced diet. It is recommended that women who are pregnancy add about 300 calories to their daily intake. Your doctor will most likely describe a prenatal vitamin. This vitamin will ensure that you are getting enough folic acid, iron, and calcium each day. Over-the-counter medications are usually off-limits for women who are pregnant because of the possibility of harming the fetus by consuming them. Foods to avoid eating during pregnancy include unpasteurized cheese (feta, goat), Camembert and blue cheese, unpasteurized milk, juice, and apple cider, raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs (mousse, tiramisu), raw or uncooked meats, fish, or shellfish, and processed meats (hot dogs and deli meats; if eaten they should be well cooked). Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. Although fish are healthy, these particular types of fish may contain a high level of mercury that could harm the fetus.

17 Break Bad Habits During pregnancy, you may be forced to change some of your usual ways for the safety and well being of you and your baby. Cigarettes: smoking can lead to miscarriage, prematurely, and low birth weight. Every time one puff of smoke is taken in my the mother, 4000 chemicals are inhaled by not only the mother but also the baby. Alcohol: alcohol consumption is the most common cause of mental retardation in babies. Cocaine/Heroin: mothers who abuse these substances usually have babies who are premature.


19 Environmental Concerns Stay away from chemicals like insecticides, solvents, lead, mercury, and paint. Toxoplasmosis is a disease from a parasite sometimes found in cat feces. Avoid rodents and their urine, feces, and nesting material. The rodent and these materials can carry a disease that can be life threatening to your baby. Avoid secondhand smoke. Wash hands frequently to avoid an illness or disease.



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