Alert:Important Travel Alert: Zika Virus & Pregnant Women- Please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/index.html for more information.
Q: I just found out I am pregnant. When should I schedule my first appointment?
A: We typically like to schedule your first OB appointment around the 8th to 10th week of pregnancy. At this first visit, we will take blood work and cultures as well as perform your first vaginal ultrasound which will help confirm how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Q: What is the first trimester screening and do I need to have this done?
A: The first trimester screening is a special test that can detect up to 85% of fetuses with Down’s Syndrome. This screening is usually performed during the 11th to 14th week of pregnancy. The test is performed at Saint Agnes Hospital’s Women’s Health Center where you will also have a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine physician. The non-invasive screening consists of blood work and an ultrasound to assess the fetus and screen for Down’s Syndrome. Your doctor will give you all of the information on the screening including benefits so that you can make an informed decision.
Q: How will I feel during the first trimester of my pregnancy?
A: During the first few months of pregnancy, many women feel fatigued and some women may have “morning sickness,” which is nausea and/or vomiting which can occur in the morning or at any time throughout the day or night. Many women notice morning sickness around the ninth week of pregnancy. You may find that you have to urinate more often and some women experience headaches, which are usually a result of dehydration. Mild cramping may also occur as the uterus grows and stretches. If you experience severe pain or cramping on one side, please call our office right away.
Q: I’m worried about a miscarriage in my first trimester. What are some of the signs I should be aware of?
A: Unfortunately, some pregnancies are not healthy and about 15% - 20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. Miscarriage typically occurs during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. If you experience severe abdominal cramping, bleeding and passing of tissue, a miscarriage is likely and you should call our office immediately to be evaluated. Bleeding without cramping can occur and may be due to a vaginal infection, cervical irritation or from intercourse. Light spotting with no cramping or pain is often not a cause for concern, but you should call our office to be sure your pregnancy is progressing normally.
Q: What are things I should avoid in my first trimester to help ensure the health of my baby?
A: Avoiding alcohol and nicotine and tobacco products during your first trimester and throughout your pregnancy is of utmost importance to protect the health of your developing child. We also recommend avoiding hair dyes and perms as well as certain foods such as: - Fish including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile fish which are all high in mercury - Unpasteurized dairy, especially soft cheeses - Deli meat – if you choose to eat deli meat, it’s important to recook the meat until it is steaming to minimize exposure to Listeria Limited amounts of caffeine and artificial sweeteners are typically OK in the first trimester.
Q: What screenings will I be offered in my second trimester?
A: If you opted for the first trimester screening, you will be offered the alpha-fetoprotein test, which is a screening for spina bifida and other neural tube defects. (If you did not have the first trimester screening, a quad screening test may be available.)
Q: When can I find out if I’m having a boy or a girl?
A: The anatomy scan, which is a comprehensive ultrasound screening, is typically offered at 18-20 weeks. The anatomy scan can not only reveal the gender of your baby, if you choose to know, but it also allows us to screen for most anatomic abnormalities. This scan can also confirm your due date and if there is more than one fetus.
Q: What other tests will I need in my second trimester?
A: A glucose tolerance test, which screens for diabetes, is recommended between weeks 24 and 28. The test is given in our office and entails drinking a special glucose drink. One hour after drinking the glucose mixture, blood will be taken and will be evaluated for gestational diabetes.
Q: What should I do to prepare for labor and delivery?
A: In your second trimester, you should: - Register at Saint Agnes Hospital and send in your pre-admission form to the hospital - Select a pediatrician for your child - Consider taking a prenatal class; Saint Agnes Hospital offers childbirth education classes as well as a labor and delivery tour. For information and to register, call 866-690-WELL (9355) or visit the Saint Agnes Hospital website.
Q: When should I start feeling my baby kick?
A: Fetal movements are typically felt between 17 and 20 weeks. Women often describe the first movements as feeling like flutters, gas bubbles or muscle twitches. As your baby continues to grow, his or her movements will grow stronger and feel more like kicks. Beginning around 32 weeks, we ask you to monitor your baby’s movements to ensure you’re feeling at least 10 movements in a two hour period.
Q: What can I expect as I enter my third trimester of pregnancy?
A: As you move into the final trimester, you can expect to feel tired as many women find it harder to sleep comfortably through the night and many women experience the urge to urinate more frequently at night as well. Heart burn is not uncommon as your baby grows. Swelling of the feet and ankles may also occur, especially if you’ve been on your feet all day. If you experience swelling along with rapid weight gain and high blood pressure, it’s important to call our office as you will need to be evaluated for possible complications of preeclampsia.
Q: What are some of the signs of preeclampsia?
A: Gestational hypertension or pregnancy induced hypertension can develop during the third trimester and is one sign of preeclampsia. Other signs of preeclampsia that you should be aware of include: Headache Blurry vision, black spots in vision, flashes in vision Inability to urinate Nausea, vomiting or epigastric pain Upper abdominal pain, specifically right sided Increase in swelling Sudden weight gain If you have any of these symptoms, contact the office immediately.
Q: I think I’m in labor- when should I call my doctor?
A: Call the office when you have strong contractions every five minutes for at least one hour. If your water breaks, make sure to call our office even if you’re not having contractions. If you are experiencing any bleeding like a period, it’s also important to call our office for an evaluation. During office hours, dial our office number – 410-997-8444. When the office is closed you should call 410-368-8877. If you get no answer, you may call Labor and Delivery at 410-368-2610.
Q: How long will my labor last?
A: Every woman is different when it comes to labor and delivery. With your first baby, labor is usually between 12 and 24 hours. With your second baby, labor is usually quicker.
Q: I want an epidural during my labor; when will I receive one?
A: An epidural is usually given as your labor progresses and you have a strong contraction pattern. If you would like pain medication in the early phase of labor, you can receive I.V. narcotics. Upon admission to the hospital, you will have the opportunity to discuss your pain management options.