You are about to begin a journey that will change your life forever. There is nothing like welcoming a child into the world, and Women First wants only the best for you and your baby.
- Living Your Life While Pregnant
- Medication and Substance Use During Pregnancy
- Morning Sickness and Constipation
- Nutrition During Pregnancy
- Viral and Bacterial Exposures
Every pregnancy is different, but a healthy pregnancy usually involves standard prenatal care visits such as these. High-risk pregnancies may involve additional appointments and testing.
When you think that you’re pregnant, call Women First to schedule your first prenatal appointment. Your first office visit is around 8 weeks, and you should plan on spending one to two hours in our office. Women First will confirm your pregnancy and establish your due date. You can calculate an approximate due date yourself at www.babycenter.com/pregnancy-due-date-calculator. Your due date will be confirmed with an ultrasound, which will likely be performed vaginally due to the early stage of gestation.
During this first obstetric visit, we focus on understanding any personal issues that may impact your pregnancy. One of our Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants will review your medical and obstetric history with you, plus give you educational materials and community resources to learn about prenatal care. Please bring any medications that you have taken since conception.
If you have not already begun taking prenatal vitamins, you should begin taking them as soon as possible. (Please note that gummy vitamins do not contain iron and are not a substitute for prenatal vitamins.)
We’ll schedule your next appointment with your physician and take you to our in-office lab for initial blood work.
Prenatal Blood Work
- CBC: (complete blood count)—checks for iron stores (anemia), platelets and infections
- Blood type: blood type and Rh type
- Antibody screen: detects unusual antibodies that may have risen during a prior pregnancy or blood transfusion
- Rubella titer: tests to determine if you are protected from rubella (German measles)
- Syphilis screening: test for exposure to syphilis
- Hepatitis screening: checks for recent or old Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections
- HIV: detects the antibody to HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS
- Urine culture: screens for infection in your urine
At this visit, we will monitor your blood pressure and weight, and schedule your next visit and anatomic ultrasound for 20 weeks. Can’t wait until then to find out the gender of your baby? We offer an elective gender ultrasound at 16 weeks. Family, friends and children are welcome. The session includes four photos of your baby and is not covered by insurance. See more details in the ultrasound information section here.
You’re halfway there! Your baby is about 6 inches long head to bottom and 10 inches head to toe.
At 20 weeks, your visit will be focused on the ultrasound. You will first be seen by our ultrasonographer, who will perform a thorough anatomic survey on your baby. Although we are focused on obtaining the necessary views of your baby’s anatomy, we want you to enjoy getting a good look at your baby. You are encouraged to bring one or two family members to this visit to enjoy the sneak peek at the newest member. Due to the highly technical component of this ultrasound, we respectfully ask you to only bring those over 6 years old to this visit. Now is a good time to sign up for prenatal classes at Baptist Health. You may access the list of available classes here.
Now is the time to try to avoid lying flat on your back for long periods of time.
At this visit, we will continue to monitor your weight, blood pressure and baby’s growth. Beginning at 20 weeks, we can measure your baby’s growth with a measuring tape (in centimeters). Measuring from your pubic bone to the top of the uterus, your baby should measure centimeters per the number of weeks pregnant you are. There can be some variance, but it is usually within 2 centimeters.
Your baby’s activity is typically picking up at 24 weeks, but still does not have a predictable pattern. We will review fetal kick counts at 28 weeks.
At your 28-week visit, we will test for gestational diabetes. You do not have to fast before your arrival. At this appointment, we will give you a concentrated sugar drink. You will then be seen by a physician while waiting the required one hour before we can draw your blood work. We will screen again for anemia at this visit and, if you are Rh negative, you will receive Rhogam. You will receive your Tdap immunization (whooping cough vaccine and tetanus booster) at 28 weeks.
You may also wish to schedule an elective 3D/4D ultrasound photography session for this visit. These are best performed between 26 and 30 weeks for optimal views. You can learn more about this session here.
At this visit, we will begin scheduling two-week check-ups to more closely follow blood pressure, weight gain and the growth of your baby more closely. The home stretch is nearing, so work on selecting a pediatrician, installing a car seat, and reading about labor.
We will continue to monitor blood pressure, weight and growth. This visit is a good time to ask any questions you have regarding labor and delivery and start developing your birth plan.
If you are interested in customizing your birthing preferences, download the Women First Birthing Plan here, select your preferences, and bring them to your 36-week appointment to review with your physician.
Your baby typically weighs almost 6 pounds! By the end of this week he or she will be considered full-term!
At 36 weeks, we start weekly visits preparing for your big day. We will obtain a vaginal group B strep culture and check your cervix for dilation and the baby’s position. Your baby should be head down at this time. We will also assess your baby’s size and the adequacy of your pelvis for childbirth. If you have developed a birth plan, we will be happy to review it at this time; please also bring a copy of your birth plan with you to the hospital for your delivery.
You should pre-register for the hospital, too; enter your due date as the requested “date of your procedure.” Pre-register online by going to www.baptisthealth.com/louisville. At this time, you should limit travel until after your baby is born.
Preregister online link should be: https://www.baptisthealth.com/patients-and-visitors/pre-register
Each week until your delivery, we will check your blood pressure, baby’s growth, and the position of the baby, and answer any additional questions you may have related to labor and delivery. Scheduled cesarean deliveries are performed between 39–40 weeks’ gestation. Please have your car seat checked by 37 weeks and your pediatrician selected.
We hope your baby is here and you are celebrating the birth of your new little one. However, if you are still undelivered at this time, we will discuss the option of induction of labor with you. See more information on labor and delivery and post-delivery here.