Obstetrics

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High Quality, Full-Spectrum Care During Your Pregnancy

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We proudly offer obstetric for prenatal care and provide a team of board-certified obstetricians during labor and delivery. We are here to support you throughout your pregnancy with the utmost skill, compassion, and careful monitoring of both your and your baby’s health.


Prenatal Information

+ Birth Plan Ideas

You have the option to create a birth plan that communicates to your care team what your preferences are during labor and delivery. In your birth plan you can outline what matters to you, like who you’d like with you in the room, what your wishes are regarding medications and interventions, your preferred pain management techniques, if you’d like your partner to cut the umbilical cord, etc. It is important to keep in mind that your birth plan is what you would ideally like to see happen, but sometimes circumstances arise that require veering from your original plan. If you choose to create a birth plan, we ask that you bring a copy of your birth plan to your prenatal appointment to keep in your records, and bring an additional copy to the hospital with you.

+ OB Nurse Educator

If you are new to our practice, your first visit will be with our Obstetric Nurse Educator. At this appointment we will do a thorough intake of your medical history, go over keys to a healthy pregnancy, set up your prenatal appointments, and answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to bring a support person with you to this appointment, and to come without children to allow you to focus on yourself.

Within two weeks of your OB Nurse Educator appointment, you will meet with a physician for a full physical, pelvic exam, breast exam, as well as pap smear if you are due for one. At this appointment prenatal labs can be ordered and an ultrasound can be performed.

+ Tests Performed During Pregnancy

Various tests and screenings are performed during pregnancy to ensure you and your baby are in good health. Knowing ahead of time which tests are performed, as well as when and why, helps you to be more prepared and informed. Tests performed during prenatal care include a CBC, blood type test, urinalysis, STI screen, glucose screen, and GBS screen.

Early during the pregnancy, and again later on in pregnancy, a Complete Blood Count, or CBC, is performed to look at overall health, as well as help detect anemia or possible infections.

The blood typing test reveals if a certain protein called Rh factor is present on your red blood cells. Determining your blood type is important as it can impact your pregnancy. Special care needs to be taken if you are Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive.

Urinalysis is routinely performed during pregnancy to check the urine for the possible presence of protein, blood, glucose, white blood cells, as well as other substances. Urinalysis is a non-invasive way to assess your overall health during pregnancy and can reveal small things like if you need to drink more water or more serious concerns like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) tested during pregnancy may include HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and hepatitis B and C, and gonorrhea as these can negatively affect your baby’s health and require proper treatment.

The glucose challenge test is a screen for gestational diabetes performed between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy to assess how well your body handles and processes sugar. For the test you will come into the office in the morning to drink a sugary solution. About an hour later your blood is drawn to assess your blood glucose levels.

The group B Streptococcus (GBS) test is performed between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy. GBS is a common bacteria that lives in the intestines, vagina, and rectum, but it can pose a risk to baby during delivery if mom has high levels of this bacteria. For the GBS test, the vagina and rectum are swabbed and tested for the presence of GBS. In the event that a woman tests positive for GBS, IV antibiotics during labor are indicated to prevent it from passing to the baby. Probiotics may lessen your risk for testing positive for GBS.

+ Medications During Pregnancy

Although the use of some medications during pregnancy is considered safe, some medications may adversely affect your baby, whereas others may have no safety rating. It is highly important to discuss with your physician any and all medications taken during pregnancy.

+ Prenatal Exercise

Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits, from easing physical discomfort, to decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes, and even lowering your chances for a cesarean delivery. Speak with your care provider to help determine what kind of exercise may be best for you. Walking, yoga, and swimming are all fantastic exercises to incorporate into your weekly routine.

Local Resources:
Tru Pilates – (434) 975-3800 (prenatal pilates)
Bend Yoga – (434) 296-2363 (prenatal yoga)
ACAC – (434) 984-3800 (prenatal water classes, prenatal yoga)
Body, Mind, Spirit Yoga Studio – (434) 294-5451 (prenatal yoga)

+ Preparing for Delivery

Childbirth education classes are a great way to learn more about and prepare yourself for the journey through labor and delivery. Martha Jefferson Hospital offers a variety of childbirth classes.

+ What to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a critical period where the choices you make strongly influence the health of your baby. Making good choices is easier when you are well-informed. During pregnancy, it is best to avoid raw or undercooked meat, as well as raw seafood, and raw eggs, as these can harbor bacteria that may be harmful for you and baby. Limit time spent in hot tubs and saunas. And lastly, elect someone else to change the kitty litter box as cat feces may contain a parasite harmful to your baby.

+ Body Changes During Pregnancy

A woman’s body changes in miraculous ways to accommodate a growing baby. Though sometimes those changes may also bring some physical discomfort, like body aches or heartburn.

+ Preventing Preterm Birth

A baby born before 37 weeks is considered to be preterm. Babies born preterm have a higher risk of complications, such as breathing problems, difficulty with temperature regulation, and metabolism problems. You may be able to lower your risk of preterm birth by not smoking or drinking alcohol, attending all of your prenatal appointments, finding effective ways to manage your stress, and managing any chronic health problems you may have. For women with a history of preterm birth, progesterone supplementation may offer benefit.

Signs and symptoms of preterm labor include vaginal bleeding, pressure in the pelvis, regular and frequent contractions, a dull backache, belly cramps, or your water breaking. If you experience any of these symptoms call your care provider right away.

+ Genetic Testing

While the majority of babies are born healthy and free of birth defects, approximately 3-5% of babies born have birth defects caused by genetic disorders. Some examples of genetic disorders include Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell disease. Prenatal genetic screening tests are available to determine the risk of having a child with a genetic disorder. Prenatal genetic diagnostic tests are more definitive and can tell you whether or not your child has a genetic disorder. Deciding whether or not to do genetic testing is a very personal decision and there is no wrong or right answer. Feel free to discuss any concerns you may have with your care provider.

We use LabCorps for genetic testing. Try our cost estimator to calculate your estimated testing fees.

+ Nutrition

Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is critical to keeping you in good health, and can impact your baby’s health for the rest of his or her life. With so many diets in the news these days, it can be hard to know what is truly “healthy”. Here are a few guiding principles.

  • Eat the rainbow in fruits and vegetables
  • Get adequate protein from legumes, low-mercury fish, poultry, beef, and lamb
  • Optimize whole grains over processed carbohydrates
  • Consume high-quality fats such as olive oil, avocados, and almonds
  • Drink plenty of clean, pure water
  • Limit processed grains, sugar, and packaged foods as these provide empty calories without the nutrition you and your baby need

+ Benefits of a Low Intervention Birth

A low-intervention birth is one in which birth starts spontaneously and is allowed to progress naturally without medical intervention. Studies show low-intervention birth is associated with improved outcomes for mother and baby, as well as high patient satisfaction. A low-intervention birth is often characterized by delayed admittance to the hospital until active labor begins, the utilization of alternative pain management techniques, having continuous support during labor, laboring in various positions, and intermittent monitoring of baby’s heartbeat.

+ Preparing for Delivery

Childbirth education classes are a great way to learn more about and prepare yourself for the journey through labor and delivery. Martha Jefferson Hospital offers a variety of childbirth classes.


Breastfeeding

+ Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best way to nourish a baby, while also providing special bonding time between mom and baby. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, it is important to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and to breastfeed babies exclusively for the first 6 months of life in order to support baby’s optimal growth and development. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue up until two years of age, or beyond with the appropriate foods to complement. Breastmilk doesn’t only contain the perfect ratio of fats, sugars, and proteins that babies need, but it also provides antibodies to support baby’s immune system. Antibodies help protect babies from illness, and also helps them recover faster.

Breastfeeding offers many physical and emotional benefits for mom, too. Breastfeeding can assist moms with shedding weight put on during pregnancy, while providing a natural (but not foolproof) form of birth control, and can even help lower stress levels. Breastfeeding has also been shown to help reduce risk of breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

The benefits of breastfeeding persist for life. Babies that are breastfeed are less likely to be overweight as adults, have been shown to perform better on intelligence tests, and are at a lower risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and lupus.

+ Breastfeeding Tips

Successful breastfeeding requires having adequate support, especially if difficulties arise. Breastfeeding is natural, but it is also a learned behavior. If you are struggling to breastfeed, don’t hesitate to seek out a lactation consultant for extra support.

Tips to help with breastfeeding:

Skin-to-skin contact: Initiating skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth increases the chance of successful breastfeeding, and increases the length of breastfeeding.

No Supplemental Food or Liquids: Within the first few days of a baby’s life, studies show it is best for a baby to only consume mother’s milk, and not specific foods or liquids.

Recognize Feeding Cues: Babies may signal they need to be fed by opening their mouth wide, by moving their head from side to side

Try Different Positions: There are numerous positions for breastfeeding. It’s good to try a few to see what is most comfortable for you and baby, but always bring baby to nipple height.

Get Comfortable: You may be in a certain position for a while, so get comfortable. Get a glass of water, bring your phone, have what you need to relax while nursing.

Getting a Good Latch: Baby’s lips should be flanged, or turned outwards, with baby’s mouth around your breast, not just nipple. If the latch feels painful or is on the tip of the nipple, gently break the latch by inserting your finger into baby’s mouth and try again. Additional information on latching can be found here.

Additional tips for successful breastfeeding can be found here.