Prenatal Care Services
Being pregnant is an exciting stage in a woman’s life—it can also be a time when you need to ensure you maintain optimal health.
At Northside/Northpoint OB-GYN of Atlanta and Alpharetta, GA, we offer prenatal care for every stage of pregnancy so women can stay healthy from conception through delivery. Learn more about how we care for our patients at Northside/Northpoint OB-GYN here.
What Should I Expect During My Prenatal Care Exam?
Your prenatal care appointment and exams play a vital role in helping you and your baby stay as healthy as possible during pregnancy. During your exam, your blood pressure and weight will be recorded and measured, and your belly will be measured as well.
You will probably need to provide a urine sample so that it can be evaluated for infections and glucose levels. You will also have blood work ordered, and depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, an ultrasound will be performed to monitor your baby’s growth and development. If you have the possibility of a high-risk pregnancy, other tests may be ordered or performed during your exam. And finally, you will receive guidance about how to stay healthy and what to expect during the next few weeks of your pregnancy.
Do I Need To See My Obstetrician Every Month?
During the first 28 weeks, or seven months of your pregnancy, you will need to have a monthly prenatal care exam. After that, you will have an exam every two weeks until the 36th week, then every week until your delivery. If you do have a high-risk pregnancy, you most likely need to be seen more frequently.
What Is Considered A High-Risk Pregnancy?
High-risk pregnancies occur when either the mother or baby faces certain types of risks that can have an impact on delivery or pregnancy.
There are many possible causes of high-risk pregnancies, including:
- diabetes that is present when you become pregnant or that develops while you are pregnant (gestational diabetes)
- high blood pressure that is present when you become pregnant or that develops while you are pregnant (hypertension of pregnancy)
- being older
- drinking alcohol, smoking, or taking drugs
- a history of multiple miscarriages
- genetic issues
- presence of some diseases
Women with these conditions and other conditions associated with high-risk pregnancies will need to have more frequent office prenatal care exams and monitoring.
Throughout your pregnancy, your obstetrician will monitor your baby and you. This is done by performing regular examinations and various tests. These regular prenatal care checkups are essential to detect any signs of problems as soon as possible, and to give you peace of mind about your baby’s growth and development.
Northside/Northpoint OB-GYN Prenatal Services Guide
We know every pregnancy is unique—your obstetrician will determine which tests are appropriate for you and your baby.
The following will provide an overview of what to expect during your prenatal care visits, including ultrasound examinations and pregnancy blood tests.
First Trimester (which is fertilization to 13 weeks pregnant)
The most common prenatal services tests for your first trimester include:
- Blood Type And Rh Factor
This blood test determines the likelihood of your baby and you having an incompatible blood type. For instance, if your blood type is Rh-negative, there can be a higher probability that you and your baby will be opposite blood types. Your obstetrician may prescribe you a supplement of Rh immunoglobulin to reduce the risk of complications during your pregnancy.
- STI Tests
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) can usually be passed on to your fetus if left undiagnosed and untreated. Your physician can recommend gonorrhea, Pap smear, HIV, and chlamydia tests to check for any STIs.
- First-Trimester Screen
This simple blood test screens your fetus for chromosomal abnormalities.
- Nuchal Translucency
Also known as to as a nuchal fold scan or NT, this ultrasound test screens for Down syndrome by measuring any possible amount of fluid accumulating on the back of your baby’s neck.
Second Trimester (14 to 27 weeks pregnant)
The most common prenatal services tests for your second trimester include:
This imaging scan employs sound waves to safely create an accurate picture of your baby in the womb. Ultrasounds will allow your obstetrician to examine the size of your baby and the placental placement, and identify the sex. Also referred to as sonograms, ultrasounds are generally performed regularly throughout your pregnancy.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This routine blood test checks for anemia during your pregnancy.
- Glucose Tolerance Test
This blood test will check your blood sugar levels for signs of gestational diabetes, a temporary form of diabetes that can occur during your pregnancy.
This test will involve removing a small amount of fluid from the amniotic sac to look for congenital disabilities and chromosome issues.
- Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test
This blood test examines your levels of a protein produced by the fetal liver and yolk sac. Abnormal levels of AFP in your blood can indicate brain or spinal defects, and additionally increased risks for Down syndrome in the baby.
Third Trimester (28 weeks pregnant to birth)
The most common prenatal services tests for your third trimester include:
- Vaginal Beta Strep Culture
This test will check for strep, a common infection that could be passed on to your baby during labor. If you have strep, you will be given an antibiotic during labor to protect your baby from any infection.
- Checking For Any Swelling Of The Ankles, Hands, and Face
These can, at times, be signs of preeclampsia, a condition of high blood pressure during your pregnancy.
- Checking The Position Of Your Baby
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, the obstetrician may check to see if your baby is in a breech (which means feet first) position. But also know that most babies in this position will turn around before delivery.
- Additional Prenatal Care Tests
In some pregnancies, your doctor can request additional prenatal services exams. These exams are usually suggested for pregnant women over the age of 35 because of the increased risk of complications, including Down syndrome.
- Multiple Marker Screening (Triple Or A Quadruple Screen Testing)
This blood test checks for any congenital disabilities, similar to the first-trimester screen.
- Biophysical Profile (BPP)
This will include multiple tests to evaluate your baby’s heart rate, movement, breathing, and amount of amniotic fluid.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling
This will involve removing a very small sample of placenta tissue to test for genetic defects.
- Non-Stress Test
This will measure the fetal heart rate while your baby is moving.
- A Contraction Stress Test Using A Fetal Doppler (Heart Monitor)
This test is used to ensure that your baby will stay healthy during your labor when there are reduced oxygen levels.
Early detection of any health problems with our prenatal services can help your obstetrician prepare for the safest delivery.
Our medical doctors specializing in high-risk obstetrics will work with your obstetrician to interpret and perform results of prenatal care testing and design treatment plans for high-risk pregnancies.
To learn more about our obstetric services or to schedule an appointment, please call our main office at (404) 255-3633. You can also use our online Request an Appointmentform. Our service area includes the area of Buckhead in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Roswell, Forsyth, Cumming, North Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta in Fulton County, GA.