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A healthy pregnancy begins before you become pregnant. A pre-conception visit is a chance for you and your women’s healthcare provider to review both you and your partner’s health histories to plan for any additional tests or interventions.  It is also a chance to discuss general guidelines such as supplements, medications you may be taking, travel planning, exercise and diet, and mental health support.  

Prenatal Care

Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, prenatal visits begin. Prenatal appointments help prevent complications and provide a chance for you to ask your provider questions. You’re first visit generally involves a complete physical examination, basic blood work, and cervical cancer screening if appropriate. Additional tests may include genetic screenings for you and the baby, diabetes screening, and an anemia evaluation. Every visit will include an evaluation of your blood pressure, weight, and urine testing. Your provider will discuss intrapartum immunizations when appropriate. A sonogram is generally performed mid-way through the pregnancy and as required, but not at every visit. Pregnancy is measured in weeks and the count generally begins from the first day of your last period unless there is some size discrepancy discovered at your confirm pregnancy visit. Your due date will be calculated at 40 weeks from that date unless adjusted.

When to Schedule an Appointment: Early Signs of Pregnancy

If you suspect you are pregnant, perform a home pregnancy test. These tests are extremely accurate for detecting pregnancy and it is uncommon for a false negative test result.  If you feel your symptoms of pregnancy do not match your home pregnancy test, please contact your women’s healthcare provider and a blood test can be performed.  Once your home pregnancy test is positive, schedule an appointment with one of our women’s healthcare providers to determine when your first visit should be. 

The most common pregnancy symptoms are:

  • Missed Period
  • Tender swollen breasts
  • Nausea
  • Frequent bathroom visits
  • Fatigue 

Postpartum Care

Proper postpartum care is essential for ensuring you have a healthy start to your recovery after labor. It is important to take the time to have follow-up visits with your provider following delivery. At your postpartum visits, your blood pressure, weight, and general well-being will be evaluated. A targeted examination will determine how well you are healing. It is also an opportunity to discuss any issues you may be having such as breastfeeding complications or mental health concerns.

Breastfeeding is not easy for some mothers, and your healthcare provider can provide or offer referrals to help with that process.  

Post Partum Depression

Having a baby is an exciting time but it is also a period of intense lifestyle changes that can bring on feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger. Sometimes these feelings are temporary, but if they are not, this can be a sign of postpartum depression.  Never minimize the feelings you have and notify your healthcare provider if you think you are having a problem.  Capital Women’s Care has partnered with Mindoula to provide easy access to mental health care services.

Signs of Severe Postpartum Depression

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, it is important you seek immediate help by proceeding to the nearest emergency room for a full evaluation.

If you feel depressed after the birth of your baby, be on the lookout for the following signs:

  • Your postpartum blues, or baby blues, don’t go away after two weeks
  • Strong feelings of depression and anger come one to two months after your baby is born
  • Feelings of sadness, doubt, guilt, or helplessness seem to increase each week and seem to keep you from functioning normally
  • Inability to care for yourself or your baby
  • Trouble doing tasks at home or at work
  • Changes in appetite
  • Things that used to bring you pleasure no longer do
  • Concern and worry about your baby are too intense, or interest in your baby is lacking
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Fear of being left alone in the house with your baby
  • Concern that you might harm your baby or yourself

If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs after childbirth, call your provider for help. Our ObGyn specialist can help you get the support, counseling, or medication you need to overcome your feelings of postpartum depression. The providers at Capital Women’s Care are trained to help you overcome your feelings of postpartum depression and are just a phone call away.

Schedule an Obstetrics Appointment with Capital Women’s Care

If you’re currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, your Capital Women’s Care provider is here to help you through your pregnancy journey. Speak to your provider today to schedule your next prenatal visit.