Routine and High-Risk Obstetrics
Routine Obstetrics follow a pattern of visits, tests, and suggestions in order to help bring a healthy baby to happy and healthy parents.
From 4 weeks to 28 weeks, visits are often scheduled every four weeks. From 28 weeks to 36 weeks, the visits increase to every two weeks, and after that, the doctor will see you every week as you approach your due date.
First Visit: The first prenatal visit is usually scheduled six to eight weeks after your last period. During this visit, your physician will take a complete medical history in order to determine possibilities for complications, and you will undergo a physical exam as well. Often, safety issues, dietary concerns, seat belt use, travel in pregnancy, and other common problems will be discussed. Other tests may be offered, such as:
- Testing for cystic fibrosis, or sickle cell trait
- Testing for chromosomal problems, such as Down Syndrome
- HIV testing
- Ultrasound: The ultrasound, performed during the 18-20th week of your pregnancy, will establish your official due date and help detect potential problems. The ultrasound also shows the baby’s basic anatomy, and it is during this visit you can find out the sex of your baby, if you choose.
- Subsequent Visits: At every visit, you will be weighed and have your blood pressure tested, and the doctor will check the baby’s heartbeat and measure the size of the uterus. Urine tests will check for infection, protein, and sugar.
- Each visit will bring new questions and topics related to the specific stage of pregnancy. For the first trimester, the major concerns are maintaining a normal diet and controlling or subduing nausea, vomiting, constipation, and leg pains. The second trimester focuses on normal fetal growth, testing for diabetes, and screening for preterm labor.
- Near Term: As you approach your due date, your doctor will perform vaginal exams to make sure the baby is head-first and also to see if delivery is approaching. You and your doctor will discuss signs and symptoms of normal labor, and what to expect during delivery.
High Risk Obstetrics
Complications may arise during pregnancy, and some women are at higher risk for these issues than others. Consult with your primary physician pre- or postconception to determine if you should seek counseling with a doctor who specializes in high risk obstetrics, called Perinatologists or Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialists.
The following factors or conditions may contribute to high-risk obstetrics:
- Heart disease
- Underweight or overweight
- Lung disorders (ex. asthma)
- High blood pressure
- Seizure disorders
- Kidney disease
- Menopausal women (who are pregnant through donor eggs)
- Multiples (especially triplets or more)
- Thyroid disorders
- Incompetent cervix
- Placental abruption
- Teratogen exposure (ex. certain medications, narcotics, and alcohol)
- Previous history of complications and/or miscarriages
It is important to examine fetal health and help treat any issues that arise in high risk obstetrics.
Dr. Ricks uses Ultrasound for the following:
- Confirm the due date
- Count the number of fetuses
- Examine fetal anatomy
- Follow fetal growth throughout the pregnancy
- Check for healthy fetal activity
- Check amniotic fluids
- Treatment for some complications may include bed rest or hospitalization in order to gain time for the fetus to survive to delivery.
Please contact Dr. Jon T. Ricks’ here to schedule an appointment.