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Amniocentesis (am-nee-o-sen-TEE-sis) is a pre-natal outpatient diagnostic test that's used to determine the possible presence of birth defects, such as chromosomal abnormalities and certain types of inherited diseases.
Baby care
Before your baby is born, you may want to take a class to learn how to feed and bathe your baby, as well as how to change diapers. After your baby is born, there are things you can do to help your child develop emotionally and to feel more comfortable.
Cesarean birth classes
If you're scheduled for a cesarean (see-SAIR-ee-an) delivery, you may want to consider a cesarean childbirth class. This class covers some of the same important information as a prenatal class, like anatomy and physiology, and signs of labor.
Complications during pregnancy
Problems can occur at various stages in a pregnancy. Complications during early pregnancy can include a miscarriage, which is the natural termination of the pregnancy by the body, or an ectopic (ec-TOP-ic) pregnancy, where the fetus develops outside the uterus, in the fallopian (fa-LOW-pee-an) tubes.
Diabetes and pregnancy
Because of hormonal and metabolic (met-uh-BOL-ic) changes during pregnancy, some women with no previous history will develop diabetes during pregnancy.
Diagnosing pregnancy
Most women first begin to suspect they're pregnant when they miss a period. Doctors can accurately diagnose pregnancy with a blood test within a few days after a missed period.
Diet and exercise during pregnancy
Inadequate nutrition is a major risk factor in pregnancy, and can result in a number of problems for your baby after birth. For this reason, it's crucial to eat a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy.
Drinking and pregnancy
Exposure of an unborn child to alcohol during the mother's pregnancy may affect the fetus. Possible complications include miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and cerebral palsy (suh-REE-bral PALL-zee).
Father's education
Becoming a good father starts at the moment of conception. Try to involve yourself as much as possible during the pregnancy. Attend your wife's doctor appointments whenever possible.
Fetal development: first trimester
The first trimester, or first three months, of pregnancy is a critical time in a baby's development. For the first 11 weeks, the baby is called an embryo.
Fetal development: second trimester
The second trimester begins with the sixteenth week of pregnancy. For the mother, many of the minor discomforts of the first trimester will disappear, and she will start to look pregnant and be able to feel the baby move.
Fetal development: third trimester
During the last three months of a pregnancy, or the third trimester, the baby grows rapidly, reaching three or four times its previous weight. As the baby grows larger, the mother may experience some discomfort from the pressure on her stomach or bladder.
Finding a doctor
An important factor when choosing a specialist is finding a physician you're comfortable with who meets your particular needs. You may be restricted by your insurance carrier to choose from a list of doctors.
Infant CPR
Cardiopulmonary (CAR-dee-oh PUL-moe-neh-ree) resuscitation (re-sus-uh-TAY-shun), or C-P-R, is administered when someone's breathing or pulse stops. C-P-R is a procedure that can best be remembered as A-B-C, or airway, breathing, and circulation.
Morning sickness
According to the American Medical Association, nearly 50 percent of women suffer nausea and vomiting during the first three months of pregnancy. It tends to be more severe early in the morning, but it can occur anytime during the day or night.
Postpartum blues
Some women feel sad or 'let down' in the first few weeks after childbirth, and many new mothers experience some symptoms of depression within the first six months.
Prenatal care
When you're pregnant, everything you do can have an effect on your baby. That's why it's important to see your doctor as soon as you think you might be pregnant, and then to continue with regular visits once the diagnosis is confirmed.
Prenatal education
During your second trimester, you may want to consider enrolling in a childbirth class to prepare you for the upcoming delivery and approaching parenthood.
Prenatal tests and exams
During pregnancy, several visits to the doctor are necessary. At these appointments you may undergo several prenatal tests and exams. It's helpful to know what to expect at these exams.
Pre-pregnancy planning
If you're planning to become pregnant, there are many things you can do for both your own and your baby's well-being. Start with a thorough physical exam, and get preconception counseling from your health care provider.
Sex during pregnancy
For the healthy woman, there are few restrictions on sexual intercourse during pregnancy. However, it's perfectly normal for a woman's feelings about sex to change during this time.
Sibling education
There are special programs for big brothers and big sisters which are designed to make them feel good about the arrival of a new baby. These classes address the common concerns of children, and reassure them that there's still plenty of love to go around when the new baby comes home.
Smoking during pregnancy
Not smoking is one of the best gifts you can give your unborn child. Studies show that women who do not smoke are more likely to deliver healthy babies of normal birth weight than women who smoke.
Traveling during pregnancy
Many women have concerns about traveling while pregnant. In reality, however, travel during pregnancy is usually fine. Keep in mind that airplane, train, and bus travel can be less tiring for long distances because you're able to get up and move around.
Working during pregnancy
For many women, working during pregnancy is a necessity. But how long should a pregnant woman continue working? A woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy fetus may continue to work without interruption until the onset of labor, as long as the job presents no potential hazards other than those encountered in normal, daily life.
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