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When will I have my first prenatal visit?

Unless you are having complications, your first OB visit should be around 8 weeks gestation. However, if you are unsure of your last menstrual period or have a history of miscarriage, we would like to see you for a “confirmation of pregnancy” visit sooner than 8 weeks. Please call the office to schedule your initial visit once you have missed a period or have a positive home pregnancy test. 

How long will the first visit take?

Your initial visit will take about 1 hour. You can expect to see your baby for the first time on ultrasound and will get to listen to his / her heartbeat. Your health history will be reviewed as well as basic procedures you can expect throughout your pregnancy, as well as do an intake exam. Then, you will head to the in office lab where you will have some basic blood work drawn. 

How often will I need to come for my visit?

You can expect to be seen every four weeks until you are 32 weeks gestation. You will then be seen every two weeks from 32-36 weeks. Weekly visits will start at 36 weeks and continue until delivery. 

What Test will I have done during my pregnancy ?

At your initial OB visit, you will receive a pap smear, vaginal culture, and have some basic blood work drawn. You will have a 1 hour glucose tolerance test and CBC between 24-28 weeks. The glucose tolerance test is done to screen for gestational diabetes and the CBC (Complete Blood Count) is done to evaluate the three major types of cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If you are Rh negative, you will receive an injection called Rhogam at 28 weeks. This can be done at any local hospital. A copy of the confirmation is needed for your record. Around 36 weeks you will be tested for a bacteria called Group Beta Strep Group Beta Strep (GBS) is a type of bacteria that is found in 10-30% of pregnant women and is one of the many bacteria that live in the body and usually doesn’t cause any harm. However, GBS can be passed to the baby during labor and delivery. If this happens, the illness can cause serious health problems and can even be life threatening. Each of these tests will be discussed in more detail and any questions you may have will be answered during your appointments. 

How many sonograms will I have?

You will have a total of 2 sonograms throughout your pregnancy. The first sonogram will be done at your initial ob visit. This sonogram is done to confirm your due date and to make sure the pregnancy is progressing appropriately. Your second sonogram, the “Anatomy Sonogram”, is done around 20 weeks. Some insurance companies will only cover a certain number of sonograms during pregnancy. Because of this, you should contact your insurance to find out what your coverage entails 

What are my nutritional needs during pregnancy? 

A healthy, well balanced diet that contains proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, dairy,vitamins, minerals, fats, and oils is recommended. On average, you only need 300 extra calories per day to fuel your baby’ sgrowth and keep your body healthy. This is the equivalent of a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. Eating healthy snacks between meals is a good way to get the extra calories and added nutrients that you need. 

How much weight should I gain?

How much weight you should gain during pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before getting pregnant. Women of a normal weight prior to pregnancy shouldgain 25-35 pounds. Women who are underweight should gain 28-40 pounds, and women who are overweight should gain 15-20 pounds.

Are diet drinks safe during pregnancy?  

Yes, but try not to drink more than one per day. If given a choice, use products that contain Aspartame or Sucralose (Splenda). 

Is alcohol safe? 

No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. This is to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Should I take an Omega-3 supplement during pregnancy?

 In general, it’s better if you can get your nutrients through food. But chances are you’re not eating enough of the right fish to give you a significant dose of omega-3’s,especially when you have to avoid fish high in mercury, which is the case during pregnancy. Because of this, supplements are an easy way to get a good dose of omega-3’s. Most experts recommend pregnant women consume 200-300 milligrams of DHA daily to help promote your baby’s brain and eye development. When choosing a DHA supplement, try to find a brand that contains some EPA as well. If you have a history of bleeding or clotting disorders, you should not take an omega-3 supplement. 

What is a pap test?

During a pap test, also known as a pap smear, loose cells are scraped gently from the opening of the cervix. The cells are then tested for cervical or vaginal cancer, abnormal hormone activity and certain infections or changes that may require treatment. Any female adult or teenager who is sexually active should have a pap smear once a year, including some women who have had hysterectomies.

At what age should gynecological exams begin?

Although circumstances can certainly vary, our general recommendation is to begin annual gynecological exams at the start of adolescence, typically around age 13-15. It may be sooner or later depending on the level of sexual activity or if you or the patient has questions about birth control or STDs.

What is a "GYN" exam?

A gyn (short for gynecological) or Women’s Health exam typically may include a pelvic exam, testing for many vaginal infections (including yeast infections and STIs), and may include a pap smear – a test for cervical cancer depending on your age. Pelvic exams and breast exams are not routinely performed but are done, as needed, based on your symptoms and your history. Why? Several important things happen at a gyn exam. There is an opportunity to ask questions about a wide range of topics including (but not limited to):

  • Sexuality
  • Contraception (birth control)
  • Vaginal infections
  • Preconception counseling (planning /preparing for pregnancy in the future.)
  • A complete medical and family history is taken and a general physical exam is performed. This can help identify any general health problems.
  • A breast exam may be performed and self-breast exam techniques are discussed and/or taught. It is important for you to get to know what is normal for your breasts. This is important as 1 in 8 women will eventually develop breast cancer.
  • A pelvic exam (including STI testing and possibly a pap smear to check for any pre-cancerous lesions on the cervix) may be performed.
  • Contraception may be discussed, with the pros and cons of each method described. If you wish, and there are no medical reasons why you should not have it, a prescription for the birth control pill or other contraceptive may be written.

What can I expect the day of minimally invasive surgery? 

Minimally invasive surgery involves performing procedures through a series of small (less than a half-inch) incisions instead of a single large incision, which can be up to 24 inches long, depending on the type of surgery.

Procedures are performed with a combination of thin tubes with cameras, surgical instruments and retractors, making this approach possible. In robot-assisted procedures, the surgeon manipulates these thin tubes with robotic arms that perform procedures with precision and no risk of tremor.

What can I expect the day of comprehensive gyn surgery?

The day of surgery you will be asked to arrive early where you will meet members of our nursing and anesthesia staff. They will start your IV, and along with your surgeon, review the planned procedure and obtain your consent.

During surgery, pneumatic stockings are used to massage your legs and prevent blood clots. Depending on the procedure you are having, you may receive antibiotics to prevent infection or have a catheter placed after you are asleep.

What is robotic-assisted surgery?

UC Davis Medical Center surgeons have used robotic-assisted minimally invasive procedures since 2004 to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from prostate and gynecologic cancers to upper-GI tract conditions, such as hiatal hernias and achalasia. The surgical robot is an operating-room machine completely controlled by a skilled surgeon, who manipulates mechanical arms from a console near the patient’s bed. The procedure uses much smaller incisions than traditional “open” surgery, which helps reduce blood loss and postoperative recovery times. UC Davis surgeons perform dozens of robotic-assisted procedures each month using the state-of-the-art da Vinci® computer-enhanced surgery system.

What is prenatal care? 

Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. Take care of yourself and your baby by:

  • Getting early prenatal care. If you know you’re pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit.
  • Getting regular prenatal care. Your doctor will schedule you for many checkups over the course of your pregnancy. Don’t miss any — they are all important.
  • Following your doctor’s advice.

Why do I need prenatal care?

Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care. Doctors can spot health problems early when they see mothers regularly. This allows doctors to treat them early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others. Doctors also can talk to pregnant women about things they can do to give their unborn babies a healthy start to life. 

I am thinking about getting pregnant. How can I take care of myself?

You should start taking care of yourself before you start trying to get pregnant. This is called preconception health. It means knowing how health conditions and risk factors could affect you or your unborn baby if you become pregnant. For example, some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby — even before he or she is conceived. Some health problems also can affect pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before pregnancy to learn what you can do to prepare your body. Women should prepare for pregnancy before becoming sexually active. Ideally, women should give themselves at least 3 months to prepare before getting pregnant. The five most important things you can do before becoming pregnant are:

  1. Take 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day for at least 3 months before getting pregnant to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine. You can get folic acid from some foods. But it’s hard to get all the folic acid you need from foods alone. Taking a vitamin with folic acid is the best and easiest way to be sure you’re getting enough.
  2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Ask your doctor for help.
  3. If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions include asthmadiabetesdepressionhigh blood pressureobesity, thyroid disease, or epilepsy. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date.
  4. Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using. These include dietary or herbal supplements. Some medicines are not safe during pregnancy. At the same time, stopping medicines you need also can be harmful.
  5. Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials at work and at home that could be harmful. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

What happens during prenatal visits?


During the first prenatal visit, you can expect your doctor to:

  • Ask about your health history including diseases, operations, or prior pregnancies
  • Ask about your family’s health history
  • Do a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test
  • Take your blood and urine for lab work
  • Check your blood pressure, height, and weight
  • Calculate your due date
  • Answer your questions

At the first visit, you should ask questions and discuss any issues related to your pregnancy. Find out all you can about how to stay healthy. Later prenatal visits will probably be shorter. Your doctor will check on your health and make sure the baby is growing as expected. Most prenatal visits will include:

  • Checking your blood pressure
  • Measuring your weight gain
  • Measuring your abdomen to check your baby’s growth (once you begin to show)
  • Checking the baby’s heart rate

While you’re pregnant, you also will have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as blood work to check for anemia, your blood type, HIV, and other factors. Other tests might be offered based on your age, personal or family health history, your ethnic background, or the results of routine tests you have had. Visit the pregnancy section of our website for more details on prenatal care and tests.

I am in my late 30s and I want to get pregnant? Should I do anything special?

As you age, you have an increasing chance of having a baby born with a birth defect. Yet most women in their late 30s and early 40s have healthy babies. See your doctor regularly before you even start trying to get pregnant. She will be able to help you prepare your body for pregnancy. She will also be able to tell you about how age can affect pregnancy. During your pregnancy, seeing your doctor regularly is very important. Because of your age, your doctor will probably suggest some extra tests to check on your baby’s health. More and more women are waiting until they are in their 30s and 40s to have children. While many women of this age have no problems getting pregnant, fertility does decline with age. Women over 40 who don’t get pregnant after six months of trying should see their doctors for a fertility evaluation. Experts define infertility as the inability to become pregnant after trying for one year. If a woman keeps having miscarriages, it’s also called infertility. If you think you or your partner may be infertile, talk to your doctor. Doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have healthy babies.

How often should I see my doctor during pregnancy?

Your doctor will give you a schedule of all the doctor’s visits you should have while pregnant. Most experts suggest you see your doctor:

  • About once each month for weeks 4 through 28
  • Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
  • Weekly for weeks 36 to birth

If you are older than 35 or your pregnancy is high risk, you’ll probably see your doctor more often.

What Does it mean to be Sterile?

Sterilization (also spelled sterilisation) is any of a number of medical techniques that intentionally leaves a person unable to reproduce. It is a method of birth control.

I'm perimenopausal and have been told I should be taking low-dose birth control pills. Why?

It is common in perimenopause to be given medications to regulate cycles and a common medication given is the lower dose birth control pill. Compared to regular birth control pills, the lower dose of estrogen in very-low-dose pills may be safer for perimenopausal women. (Perimenopause typically begins several years before your final period.) While regular birth control pills contain 30 to 50 micrograms of estrogen, these low-dose pills contain only 0.3 to 0.45 micrograms and can be increased as needed.  


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