Congratulations on your pregnancy! You are now entering an exciting time of preparation and expectation. During the next nine months, you will make many choices for you and your baby. Choosing your provider and where you will deliver your baby are two of the most important decisions for you to consider.
Choosing your Healthcare Provider
One of the first things to do is choose a healthcare provider to be by your side during your nine months of pregnancy and your delivery. Our Lakeland Regional Health OB/GYN physicians are all specially trained in obstetrics and gynecology and are ready to walk with you on this journey. Appropriate prenatal care is vitally important in making sure your pregnancy is as healthy as possible. Developing a relationship with your physician and care team early in your pregnancy helps to bring you peace of mind as your body changes and as your baby grows.
Once you choose your provider, he or she will see you each month during your pregnancy and more often during the last month of pregnancy. Some expectant mothers may need to visit their doctor more often. Your physician or provider will be your best resource during this time as he or she monitors your health and progress and the growth and development of your baby.
Where to Deliver
Choosing where to deliver your baby is an important consideration. At Lakeland Regional Health, we are committed to your well-being and the health of your baby. With approximately 3,000 deliveries each year, we are experienced in welcoming babies into the world. Our Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, with its contemporary design and state-of-the-art technology, you will have even more reasons to choose Lakeland Regional Health as your ideal childbirth destination.
What Do I Need to Know About Pregnancy?
Even if this pregnancy is not your first, we know you will have questions. Your doctor knows you best and understands your unique healthcare needs and will be your best source of information about your pregnancy.
You will be asked about you and your family’s health history and about any medications you take, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, minerals and other supplements. Your provider will start you on a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid which helps to reduce the chance of your baby developing neural tube birth defects.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you smoke. This is the time to quit to avoid problems like miscarriage, preterm birth, or even infant death. Nicotine can cross the placenta and affect the baby’s growth. Research shows that drinking alcohol also can increase the chance of having a baby with a low birth weight and learning disabilities.
Your doctor will give you more specific instructions, but in general, it is best to avoid raw or under-cooked foods and deli-style meats. Make sure to drink plenty of water. A good way to check if you are properly hydrated is to monitor the color of your urine. If it is dark yellow, you may need to drink more water. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also advises pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day.
About 75% of women experience nausea in early pregnancy. The best advice if you have morning sickness is to do your best to eat well. Some tips include eating small meals and snacks more frequent meals and snacks. Eating bland foods is also helpful.
Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor can provide the best advice for your activity level. Make sure that you stay hydrated throughout your workout routine, and stop exercise immediately if you experience weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or uterine contractions/cramping. Avoid high impact sports or sports where you are at high risk of falling. After the first trimester, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back.
Monthly visits continue with your caregiver but may be more frequent if there are any complications. You may also have screening tests, such as the glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes. You will be offered additional tests or amniocentesis to check for Down syndrome as well as other chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, and neural tube defects.
An ultrasound or amniocentesis will be able to let you know if your baby is a boy or girl. You will need to decide whether or not you want to learn this information now or wait to find out at a later time. Be sure to make your desire known to your caregivers.
Learning as much as you can about childbirth is very helpful. We offer several classes at Lakeland Regional Health, including Prepared Childbirth, Breast Feeding and our Newborn Care class. Click here to learn more and to schedule.
If you are planning to go back to work after you have the baby, you will need to consider what option you will use for childcare. The options may include daycare centers, home daycare or nannys, and family care. It is important to plan ahead because many facilities have waiting lists.
Getting proper rest throughout your pregnancy is important. During the second trimester, it becomes increasingly important to sleep on your side (mainly the left) to help improve blood flow. Taking power naps if possible can help you catch up on rest and fight fatigue.
Every employer is different, so make sure to check with your human resources department to find out what benefits are offered and what rules or regulations are in place.
Continue to avoid anything raw or under-cooked and deli meats. During this second trimester, you should increase your calorie intake as you continue to eat a balanced diet. Still get plenty of water to make sure you are well-hydrated.
Weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI (body mass index).
- Underweight (BMI less than 18.5): 28-40 lbs, which corresponds to 1 to 1.3 lbs per week
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): 25-35 lbs, which corresponds to 0.8 to 1 lb per week
- Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9): 15-25 lbs, which corresponds to 0.5 to 0.7 lb per week
- Obese (BMI 30 or more): 11-20 lbs, which corresponds to 0.4 to 0.6 lb per week
If you have been exercising throughout your pregnancy to this point, you may continue to do so if your doctor approves. Still make sure to stay hydrated throughout your workout routine, and stop exercise immediately if you experience weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or uterine contractions/cramping. Avoid high impact sports or sports where you are at high risk of falling. At this point in your pregnancy, avoid exercises that require you to lay flat on your back.
From 28 to 36 weeks, you will more than likely see your provider twice a month. During the last four weeks of your pregnancy, you will see the physician once-a-week or more until the baby is born.
Your baby becomes increasingly active, and, as he or she increases in size, you will no doubt notice these movements. Your baby will kick, move and even occasionally have hiccups. Your physician may ask you to count the number of kicks your baby makes.
If you are a first time mom and don’t yet have a pediatrician, it’s time to make that decision. Our Lakeland Regional Health pediatricians
are skilled in pediatric care and practice in both Lakeland and Winter Haven.
If you know you will be having a boy, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if the expense is covered. You can make financial arrangements with your obstetrician or pediatrician for the circumcision prior to your admission to the hospital. For any further questions about circumcision, please contact your obstetrician or pediatrician.
Every birth is different. Creating a birth plan allows you to state your preferences and requires you to think through the process. Knowing what type of birth experience you want, determining the pain control you desire, and choosing who will be in the delivery room are just some of the things you can plan ahead of time.
As your pregnancy progresses into your last trimester, please check with your physician for recommendations and any restrictions.
My Due Date is Soon: How Do I Prepare?
Your doctor will guide you through these last weeks, but it is good to plan ahead before that day comes. Here are some tips:
Possible Tests during Pregnancy
Initial Obstetric Visit
- Blood type and antibody screen
- Complete Blood count
- Hepatitis B
- RPR (syphilis)
- Rubella titer
- Urine culture
- Varicella titer (for certain patients)
- Sickle cell screen (for certain at-risk population)
- Pap smear (if indicated)
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia testing
- Cystic fibrosis carrier testing
Genetic Screening and Testing (if indicated)
- First trimester risk assessment
- Quad Screen – Multiple marker screening
- Maternal serum AFP only for certain patients
- CVS or amniocentesis
24 – 28 Weeks
- Screening for gestational diabetes (one hour glucose challenge test) and repeat of some of the earlier blood work and screenings.
27 – 32 Weeks
35 – 36 Weeks
Warning Signs during Pregnancy
Call your health care provider or present to your nearest emergency room if you experience any of the following:
- Severe headaches, blurring of vision or spots before your eyes
- Fever of 100 degrees or more
- Painful urination
- Marked swelling in your upper body, face or hands
- Sudden weight gain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Gush of fluid from your vagina
- Progressively stronger contractions
- Decreased fetal movement (after 24 weeks and throughout the rest of your pregnancy)