What to Expect Regarding Obstetrical Care
During pregnancy, it is important that medical care is available at all times.
Schedule for Routine Prenatal Visits
Once a month until your 28th week of pregnancy
After 28 weeks, every two weeks until the 36th week
After 36 weeks, every week
If you go past your due date, you may need to come 2 times per week
You are likely to be induced around 41 weeks
If other medical issues are determined during your pregnancy, these may require additional visits, and early induction.
At each routine visit, your weight is checked as well as blood pressure and urine. The physician or nurse practitioner will listen to fetal heart beat, check uterine size and discuss any problems or concerns. Various screening and diagnostic testing will be addressed at certain time intervals during your prenatal visits. Should you have a question at any time during your pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Pregnancy is an amazing experience. Click here to learn more about your baby’s growth and the changes taking place within your body.
Screening and Diagnostic Testing>
Testing is available in pregnancy to screen for certain birth defects. Below is information regarding currently available testing.
Ultrasound is offered at approximately 20 weeks of the pregnancy to screen for physical defects in the fetus. Examples of these include heart defects and spina bifida. If there is a family history of a particular problem such as a heart defect, a targeted ultrasound of that body system may be offered.
Various tests are available to screen for Down syndrome and Trisomy 18, chromosomal abnormalities that may occur in the fetus, associated with varying levels of mental retardation and physical defects. Screening tests have the advantage of being non-invasive, meaning they pose no risk to the pregnancy in comparison to diagnostic testing, discussed later. Screening tests assess your risk for a particular disorder, they do not diagnose. These tests can be reassuring to couples who do not desire invasive testing.
Quad Screen, a blood test performed at approximately 16 weeks that assesses your baby’s risk for Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, neural tube defects and abdominal wall defects. This test is less sensitive in detecting chromosomal abnormalities than the sequential screen. However, it is usually covered by your insurance.
Maternal Serum Alpha-fetoprotein test, performed between 15 and 22 weeks, screens only for neural tube defects and abdominal wall defects. It does not give good information concerning chromosomal defects.
These noninvasive tests described are available to mothers of all ages. However, over the age of 37, the screening tests are unlikely to reduce your risk of a chromosomal abnormality much below your age related risk.
Diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villi sampling and amniocentesis are over 99% accurate. These tests will report your baby’s chromosomes, i.e. XX or XY, normal or abnormal. The advantage of these tests is in their accuracy. Their disadvantage is in that there is a small risk of miscarriage related to the procedure. This risk will be reviewed in detail by a Genetic Counselor prior to the test to aid you in making this decision. Couples that choose this route are willing to absorb the small risk of procedure-related complications because this information is important to them.
None of these tests guarantee that your baby will not have a problem. We are able to detect the majority of major and minor birth defects, but some are not identified prior to birth.
A physician or nurse practitioner will review these options with you during your prenatal visits. Our office will also provide educational pamphlets on these tests so you and your partner or spouse can review after your visit. To review additional information regarding various testing options during your pregnancy visit mytestingoptions.com.
Delivery and Childbirth Classes
We perform our deliveries at the Maimonides Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, and Flushing Hospital. I will meet you at the Labor and Delivery Unit and work closely with the support staff at the hospital. I am confident your birth experience will be personal and memorable.
Although childbirth classes are not mandatory, these classes can be beneficial to your total obstetrical experience. These classes can help prepare you and your partner or labor coach for what happens during the birthing process.
Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood banking provides the unique opportunity for parents to save the stem cells found in the blood of their newborn’s umbilical cord. This blood remains in the umbilical cord after your baby has been delivered and the cord has been cut. The collection procedure is of no risk to the mother and newborn. Although the chance of use is still very low, the preservation of these stem cells allows families the benefit of having them available for future medical treatments. We encourage you to review the educational material available at www.cordblood.com. A physician or nurse practitioner will discuss your decision with you prior to your expected delivery date.
For answers regarding exposure to medications, chemicals, infections and environmental concerns that might pose a risk during pregnancy, call 1-800-733-4727.