How to Navigate Pregnancy and Postpartum Care?

Babies are born every single day. But for a first-time mother, this is no small feat! At Women’s Health Specialists, we treat each mom one-on-one. Today, we’ll let you know how to navigate pregnancy and postpartum care.

Part One: The Pregnancy

Working with our team will involve a primary OB-GYN, as well as help from other specialists along your pregnancy journey!

  1. Your Initial Prenatal Visit
    • Confirmation of Pregnancy: First thing first: Your provider will confirm the pregnancy through a urine or blood test and possibly an ultrasound, in addition to any at-home tests you’ve taken.
    • Medical History: If you don’t already have one with us, a thorough medical history will be taken. This includes any previous pregnancies, medical conditions, medications, and family history, all of which can be relevant to your experience.
    • Physical Examination: We might opt to conduct a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam.
    • Lab Tests: Tests are a big part of pregnancy. Initial lab tests may include blood tests, urine tests, and tests for sexually transmitted infections.
    • Estimated Due Date: Your estimated due date will be determined based on your last menstrual period (LMP) and confirmed through an early ultrasound.
  1. Regular Prenatal Visits
    • Schedule: In most cases, prenatal visits are scheduled every 4 weeks until you reach 28 weeks, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, and then weekly until delivery.
    • Monitoring Vital Signs: Each of these visits usually involves checking the mother’s vitals, as well as weight, blood pressure, and the baby’s heart rate.
    • Fundal Height Measurement: Your OB-GYN measures the fundal height (which is the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus) to assess the baby’s growth.
    • Urine Tests: Routine urine tests are used to check for protein, glucose, and signs of infection.
    • Discussion of Symptoms: Your provider will discuss any symptoms or concerns you may have along the way and provide professional guidance on managing common pregnancy symptoms. 
  1. Ultrasounds and Screenings
    • First Trimester Screening: Your early ultrasound and blood tests are conducted to screen for chromosomal abnormalities.
    • Anatomy Scan: Around 18-20 weeks, a detailed ultrasound (called an anatomy scan) is done to examine the baby’s organs and detect any anomalies.
    • Glucose Screening: Typically, between 24 and 28 weeks, your provider will check for gestational diabetes.
  1. Education and Counseling
    • Nutrition and Exercise: We will provide you with advice on a healthy diet, safe exercises, and prenatal vitamins to take.
    • Lifestyle Modifications: Mothers should avoid harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and certain medications.
    • Birth Plan: We will discuss your preferences for labor and delivery methods, including pain management options and potential birthing positions.
    • Breastfeeding: Education on breastfeeding and lactation support will be provided.
  1. Managing Complications
    • High-Risk Pregnancies: For high-risk situations, our team will monitor and care for conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or possible preterm labor.
    • Medications: If you already take medications, we will carefully work to ensure you are prescribed safe medications to manage pregnancy-related conditions.

At this point, the baby is delivered, and postpartum care begins.

How to Navigate Pregnancy and Postpartum Care?

Part Two: Postpartum Care

The time after your child is born is an important one, which necessitates vital care for the health of both mother and baby. 

  1. Initial Postpartum Visit
    • Physical Examination: Unless there is a more urgent need for a visit, a thorough physical exam is usually scheduled a little over a month after delivery to check the healing of any incisions or tears on the body, the condition of the uterus, and the overall health of the mother. Vital signs are also monitored closely.
  1. Emotional and Mental Health
    • Screening for Postpartum Depression: Postpartum depression or anxiety is a common result of pregnancy that takes additional time for recovery. We determine these conditions using screening tools and discussion.
    • Support and Counseling: Part of our job is to provide you with emotional support, resources, and referrals to mental health professionals if needed. You may already have a primary therapist who walks with you through pregnancy, but additional support groups specializing in these conditions can be an excellent tool.
  1. Breastfeeding Support
    • Latching and Positioning: We will assist with breastfeeding techniques and address any concerns about latching and milk supply. We also check for issues such as mastitis or blocked ducts.
  1. Nutritional Guidance
    • Diet and Hydration: A balanced diet and adequate hydration are critical to support your recovery and breastfeeding.
    • Supplements: Based on your medical history and genetics, we will recommend necessary supplements like iron or vitamins.
  1. Contraception and Family Planning
    • Discussing Options: If needed, your OB-GYN can provide information on various contraceptive methods and help you choose the most suitable option. Another important conversation involves discussing when it is safe to resume sexual activity with your partner, as well as the importance of spacing pregnancies for your health.
  1. Physical Recovery
    • Exercise Recommendations: Your OB-GYN will offer some guidance on how to gradually resume physical activity and exercises, which can be used to strengthen your pelvic floor and core muscles.
    • Pain Management: Any recurrent or unusual pain will be addressed at this time.
    • Pelvic Floor Assessment: We can help evaluate the strength and condition of the pelvic floor muscles while addressing any concerns such as incontinence or pelvic pain. We are proud to offer pelvic health physical therapy services.
    • Chronic Conditions: We will provide additional support for those with any chronic conditions that may have been impacted by pregnancy, such as diabetes or hypertension.
    • Future Health: Your health in the future is important to us. We will continue to recommend methods and treatments to ensure your recovery is strong.

How to Navigate Pregnancy and Postpartum Care?

Planning Ahead

At Women’s Health Specialists, our team provides you with holistic, comprehensive care—meaning care from day one of pregnancy, through whatever complications might arise, to try and ensure you have a safe and successful delivery. Many of our doctors help women through multiple pregnancies, and we’re proud to foster these relationships. We look forward to meeting you at our Germantown office!