I’m Expecting A Baby
Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby and your family is getting bigger. It’s also loaded with questions and new demands. As you embark on this journey, we are committed to answering your questions and helping you have the best pregnancy and delivery possible.
Like many expectant mothers, you might feel a healthy mix of excitement and anxiety. Preparing for your new baby, in addition to the rapid changes in your body, can make pregnancy one of the most exhilarating and exhausting times in your life.
Right now, it’s best to take a breath and take care of yourself. A healthy mom is key to having a healthy baby, and we’re here to help. At SSM Health, we partner closely with expecting moms. From your first prenatal appointment to your baby’s first cry, we provide the specialized care you and your family need to give you peace of mind and plan for the future.
Finding an OB/GYN
One of the first things you’ll want to do is find an OB/GYN. Think about what you’d like your birthing experience to be like to guide you in your decision making process. Want all the bells and whistles of a sterile hospital birth? Dream of having a doula or nurse-midwife by your side? We will listen to your birthing needs and help you select the best obstetrician for you.
SSM Health’s board-certified obstetricians have extensive experience managing pregnancy, labor and delivery. If you require surgical or medical care, our OB/GYNs take a holistic approach to your pregnancy, working with maternity specialists across our hospital.
Your First Appointment
The sooner you can see your doctor the better. Early and routine prenatal care is vital to you and your baby’s health. With prenatal care, you can monitor your baby’s progress, and receive the compassionate, individualized care SSM Health is known for.
During your first visit, we’ll review your medical history and perform a physical exam to understand your overall health and any risk factors that might affect your pregnancy.
- Determine your baby’s due date
- Schedule follow-up appointments
We typically perform a pelvic exam as well to determine the size of your uterus and pelvis. If you’re past week 10 to 12 of your pregnancy, we’ll also listen for your baby’s heartbeat using a doppler, an ultrasound-powered instrument.
Your First Trimester
Your doctor will order several lab tests during the early stages of your pregnancy. These tests screen for certain risks, including high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases, Hepatitis B, bladder infection, HIV, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell. We also screen for chromosomal abnormalities, including prenatal cell-free DNA screening.
The result of these tests will determine how often you need to see your doctor.
Typically, we recommend you have a check-up visit:
- Once a month for the first seven months of your pregnancy
- Every two to three weeks after 28 weeks of pregnancy
- Every week starting at 36 weeks
In the last month of your pregnancy, your doctor will focus on your labor and delivery, and examine your cervix (the opening of your uterus) for any significant changes.
General Do’s & Don’ts
Every woman and her pregnancy is different, but there are some general pregnancy DO’s and DON’Ts you should follow to have the healthiest birthing experience. Always talk with your doctor to be sure about what you should or shouldn't be doing while carrying your baby.
- Rest as much as you can and take short naps with your feet up if possible
- Continue your normal exercise program as long as it is comfortable
- Continue to practice safe sex during your pregnancy
- Dress comfortably in loose fitting clothing
- Take a vitamin once a day; we prescribe a prenatal vitamin that has everything you and your baby need
- Take over-the-counter medications that contain aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naprosyn (Aleve)
- Start new strenuous exercises during your pregnancy
- Drink diet sodas; Splenda and Truvia are the safest artificial sweeteners if necessary
At SSM Health, we appreciate the opportunity to provide you and your baby the best care possible. Find your nearest maternity experts and schedule an appointment to see the SSM Health difference.