Prenatal Care & Delivery
At WOMEN’S HEALTH of Central Massachusetts, we are delighted to care for you during your pregnancy, delivery and post-partum (after birth). Our team of obstetricians and nurses provide all the services you need to help you and your developing baby stay as healthy as possible during pregnancy and birth.
Prenatal Care Before You Get Pregnant
Ideally, prenatal care should begin before you get pregnant. If you’re planning a pregnancy, see your doctor for a complete check-up to make sure that you’re in good health and don’t have any conditions that could affect your pregnancy.
- Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid, calcium and iron before you get pregnant. Folic acid can prevent neural tube defects (problems with development of the spine and nervous system), which can occur in the first 28 days of pregnancy – often before you even know you’re pregnant.
- If you or your partner has a family history of a genetic disorder, genetic testing is advisable. Talk to your doctor who can refer you to a genetic counselor.
If you learn you’re pregnant before you can do either of these, don’t worry. But do start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Routine Doctor Visits and Prenatal Testing
How often you see your doctor depends on whether you have a high-risk pregnancy. Usually, prenatal visits are scheduled:
- Every 4 to 6 weeks during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy
- Every 2 to 4 weeks from 28 to 36 weeks
- Weekly from 36 weeks to delivery
Your healthcare team will check your weight and blood pressure at each visit, and the size and shape of your uterus may also be measured to determine fetal growth.
Important prenatal tests will be done at specific stages of your pregnancy. Please visit our Prenatal Tests & Screening page for details.
Taking Care of Yourself During Pregnancy
By taking care of yourself during pregnancy, you take care of your developing baby:
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs
- Limit caffeine
- Eat a healthy diet
- Certain foods can be life-threatening to an unborn baby, cause birth defects or miscarriage. Steer clear of:
- Soft, unpasteurized cheeses
- Unpasteurized milk, juices or cider
- Raw eggs or foods that contain them
- Raw or undercooked meats, fish or shellfish
- Processed meats such as hot dogs or deli meats
- Fish known to be high in mercury (shark, tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish)
- Take only medications that are necessary and recommended by your doctor, including herbal preparations and over-the-counter medicines
Managing the Side Effects of Pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause side effects including morning sickness (especially early in the pregnancy), heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, backache and fatigue. Please know you’re not alone, and talk to your doctor or one of our nurses about how to alleviate any discomfort.
When It’s Time to Deliver Your Baby
Our obstetricians provide attentive, personalized care to ensure that you have a safe labor and delivery. We deliver babies at Memorial Hospital, part of UMass Memorial Healthcare, which is home to a modern, comprehensive maternity center.
While our obstetricians make every effort to attend the deliveries of their own patients, we do share night, weekend and vacation coverage. There may be times when another physician in the group will attend your delivery or see you for a prenatal visit in the office.
Questions about Prenatal Care and Delivery?
Simply contact us.