Pregnancy (Low and High Risk)
What is Pregnancy?
Becoming a mother is one of the most life-changing events you will experience. Finding expert prenatal care and an obstetrician you trust are the most important steps you can take to help ensure a smooth delivery and healthy baby. High-risk mothers may also need the services of specialists to address underlying health conditions that may cause complications during pregnancy and delivery.
Rest assured that our Saint John’s Physician Partners obstetricians have the expertise and resources to help both mother and baby have a healthy start.
Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, and there are symptoms during each trimester:
- Symptoms during the first trimester may include nausea, bloating, sore breasts, fatigue, light bleeding and mood swings.
- Symptoms during the second and third trimester may include heartburn, swelling of the ankles and fingers, hemorrhoids, difficulty sleeping and minor contractions.
Be sure to discuss your symptoms or concerns with your doctor during your regular follow up appointments.
Your body will undergo many changes during the 40 weeks of a normal pregnancy. Here are some tests and services that your physician may recommend during the course of your pregnancy:
Prenatal testing that can help identify abnormalities such as birth or genertic defects, and is recommended for high-risk mothers-to-be. Prenatal tests include:
- Amniocentesis: This procedure is when amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing.
- Chorionic villi sampling: This is a prenatal test that removes chorionic villi from the placenta to detect birth defect, genetic diseases and other potential problems during your pregnancy.
- Expanded alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) genetic testing.
Ultrasound procedures check on the age, growth and health of your fetus. It can identify the causes of bleeding during pregnancy, assess the position of the fetus in utero and determine if there is more than one fetus.
Genetic counseling may be recommended if either parent is high-risk for a genetic disorder or carriers of certain diseases, such as Tay-Sachs and Canavan disease, and cystic fibrosis.
The healthier you are before becoming pregnant the better it will be for a healthy mother and baby. At St. John’s Physician Partners we encourage you to discuss with your OBGYN your pregnancy plans as far in advance as possible. Preconception counseling can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby.
Some women need time to get their bodies ready for pregnancy, that’s why discussing any health problems you have now or have had in the past is an important step. This will allow your doctor to make sure that any problem is properly managed during your pregnancy. You are likely to have a normal, healthy baby once these conditions are under control and you get good prenatal care. Be sure to discuss your partner’s health as well.
In precounseling be sure to ask your doctor about the following:
- Family planning and birth control.
- Genetic counseling.
- Taking folic acid.
- Vaccines and important screenings.
- Managing health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, asthma and other conditions.
- Your medicines.
- Improving your overall health, such as healthy weight, healthy food choices, stopping smoking or alcohol use and being physically active.
- Health problems that run in your family or your partners.
- Past pregnancy problems.
- Other concerns about your health.