If you've just learned you're pregnant, congratulations! You're in good company — just under four million babies are born in America every year. Prenatal care is vital for moms to be, keeping you and your baby safe and healthy as your pregnancy progresses. NOVA Pediatrics and Young Adult Medicine in Springfield and Woodbridge, Virginia, has a team of experienced medical providers trained in prenatal care and ready to help you on your pregnancy journey. Call the office and speak with a helpful staff member to schedule an appointment or book online.
Prenatal care is a branch of medicine that focuses specifically on a woman's needs as she goes through pregnancy. It begins when you receive a positive pregnancy test and continues throughout the entire pregnancy until the day you give birth.
Your first prenatal visit is an important — and often exciting — one. Your provider administers a pregnancy test to confirm you are pregnant, runs through a series of questions about your health history, and takes some blood for lab work. They'll also calculate your due date based on the date of your last period.
At this appointment or any point during your prenatal care, your provider might determine that you have a high-risk pregnancy, which means there's some likelihood your baby will be born early. In that case, they may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist — a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
Your prenatal care needs change as your pregnancy advances. There are three stages of pregnancy — the first, second, and third trimesters — and each trimester lasts 12-13 weeks.
The first trimester is usually when people find out they're pregnant. Your hormones greatly fluctuate, and many people experience morning sickness, extreme fatigue, sore breasts, skin breakouts, and mood swings. At 12 weeks, you have an ultrasound scan to check the baby's development.
In the second trimester, your hormones settle down. Not only does your bump start to show, but you also begin to feel the baby move. You see your provider every four to six weeks to measure the baby’s growth. You’ll have a second-trimester screening at 20 weeks, which assesses fetal activity and development and looks for fetal abnormalities.
In the last trimester, the baby takes up more room, so you might feel more tired and out of breath. Your check-ups become more frequent to ensure neither you nor the baby is in distress, and you discuss your birthing plan with your provider as you prepare for the baby's arrival.
Your body goes through many significant changes as it gets ready to bring a new baby into this world. But you can feel confident you're in the best hands when you partner with the experienced team at NOVA Pediatrics and Young Adult Medicine. Call the office to schedule your prenatal care appointment today or book online.