Congratulations on your pregnancy! At Women First Health Center, we are here to guide you through some of the most commonly asked questions about pregnancy. Below we have included information on routine screening tests for all obstetrical patients, genetic testing, medications and nutritional guidelines, as well as some general information about our practice policies and procedures.
Practice Policies and Procedures
Women First Health Center is a four-physician practice specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. We strongly encourage you to meet and feel comfortable with all of our physicians, as we share on call duties equally and may be the one performing your delivery. On weekdays one of us is always available for any questions you have and after hours in case of an emergency. You can reach us by calling the office phone number where the answering service will then page the doctor on call for your emergency or if you are in labor.
We do participate in a weekend cross coverage system, as there are some weekends where we share on call duties with physicians whom you will not be familiar with. However, we only cover with obstetricians whom we know very well and trust to care for our family, friends and patients. We promise to make every effort to be the ones who deliver your baby. This system has allowed us to be available to deliver approximately 95 percent of our patients year after year.
It’s also important for you to note that from a medical liability standpoint, we cannot adhere strictly to birth plans. However, we are open to discussing your birthing process with you and address any of your concerns.
Routine Screening for all Obstetrical Patients
At each visit you will be greeted by our office staff and brought into the exam room by our medical assistants where we will perform the following routine screenings.
First Trimester Ultrasonography
This ultrasound is usually performed at your first visit, and helps us confirm or establish your estimated due date.
Routine Lab Work
At your first visit, we will administer blood tests to screen you for a variety of conditions ranging from cystic fibrosis and anemia to checking for immunity to rubella.
At each visit we will ask you to provide a urine sample and check your blood pressure, weight and fetal heart rate to rule out any abnormalities.
Glucose Tolerance Test
Between 24-28 weeks, you will be asked to perform a one-hour glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes.
We will perform a culture at about 36 weeks to determine if you are a Group B Streptococcus (GBS) carrier. This is a bacterium that generally inhabits the vagina of approximately 30 percent of women.
Because we are not genetic counselors, we suggest seeking the expertise of a genetic disorders counselor if there is any family history concerns related to genetic syndromes. However, we do offer the following routine genetic testing recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
First Trimester Screening
This is a non-invasive screening program that allows us to give you information on your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome and trisomy 13 and 18, which are more severe chromosome abnormalities.
Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
NIPT uses technology based upon using fetal DNA found in maternal blood. This group of tests uses this DNA to detect any potential abnormal chromosomes in the developing baby. These tests are also able to detect the gender of the fetus in the first trimester.
This test determines your number of gene copies for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy gene.
Jewish Heritage Screening
If you and/or your partner have any Jewish heritage, there are a number of additional hereditary conditions that will be screened for via a blood sample.
This test measures the maternal blood level of a protein called AFP. It’s used to screen for the risk of open neural tube defects.
A routine ultrasound is done at approximately 6-8 weeks in the office and another at 18-20 weeks with a perinatologist to assess fetal anatomy as well as placental location and amniotic fluids.
Advanced Maternal Age
Patients giving birth at age 35 years or older are offered additional testing, as their risks for chromosomal abnormalities are greater than a younger woman.
This test is offered to all women at the age of 35 or older as well as patients with abnormal first trimester screening to determine the fetal chromosomes.
If you’re concerned with what medication you can take, we’ve provided a list of approved over the counter medicines to use during your pregnancy. If you have allergies Benadryl, Claritin, Tylenol and Tylenol Sinus are acceptable medications. If you have cold or flu symptoms Vicks Vapor Rub, Chloraseptic Spray, Tylenol products, Benadryl, Robitussin, Vitamin C drops and cough drops are all approved medications. For a full list of our approved over the counter medications, take a more in-depth look at our OB packet for more information.
Nutrition in Pregnancy
You should always eat healthy well-balanced meals during your pregnancy. Limit your intake of high-fat foods, concentrated sweets and refined sugar. Avoid skipping meals and the consumption of raw meat or unpasteurized cheeses. You also want to limit or avoid the following major, food items.
Hot Dogs and Cold Cuts
The intake of these items is controversial, as hot dogs and cold cuts pose the risk of nitrites in your system and infections. We recommend you limit your intake of these food items and make sure that you are eating food from quality sources.
Fish is a very lean source of protein for pregnant women. However, diets high in mercury-containing fish can cause birth defects. You may eat up to 12 ounces/week of cooked, lower mercury seafood such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollack and catfish. But DO NOT eat shark, tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish and marlin.
WFHC Obstetrical Handout and Form
At Women First Health Center, we are committed to providing you with high quality care in a comfortable environment. At your first visit we will have read and look over our OB Packet and fill out our OB Form with all of your medical history. This way you are fully informed of what obstetric services you should expect, and allow us to be aware of your current pregnant state. We wish you a safe and healthy pregnancy and look forward to caring for you.