Birthing Center

Pregnancy Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: How do I register for childbirth classes?
A: To register for childbirth classes, call (252) 535-8702.

Q: When should I begin prenatal care?
A: As soon as you suspect that you are pregnant, you should contact your doctor for an appointment. Proper prenatal care can help get your pregnancy off to a good start.

Q: How early can the baby’s heartbeat be seen with an ultrasound scan?
A: If the woman is not overweight, the heartbeat can be seen on abdominal scan at seven to eight weeks. If there are particular concerns it can be seen with a transvaginal scan can at six to seven weeks. A transvaginal scan should not be done without good reason.

Q: Can I travel while pregnant?
A: Yes. Traveling is fine, even long-distance, until 32 weeks in a normal pregnancy, and short-distance traveling until 36 weeks. When the pregnancy is obvious, it is better to have a letter confirming your fitness to fly from your doctor. You should drink water, keep your legs moving, walk around, and wear anti-thrombosis stockings. Some doctors suggest that you take low-dose aspirin. The risk during a journey is a blood clot forming in the legs. The cabin pressure on an airplane is not harmful to the baby.

Q: What about exercise?
A: Exercise is important in pregnancy. Most gyms will give advice about pregnancy exercises.

Q: Can I take medication during pregnancy?
A: Always consult a doctor if you need to take medication.

Q: What is fetal monitoring?
A: Fetal monitoring is the process of listening to your baby’s heartbeat to ensure that it sounds healthy. There is also a monitor for measuring contractions.

Q: What is the placenta?
A: The placenta, also known as the afterbirth, is a sponge-cake-like membrane attached to the wall of your womb, which transfers oxygen and nutrition from your blood to the baby’s blood. It can be located with an ultrasound scan. Sometimes the placenta may be described as “low” on the 22-week ultrasound. This would be a reason to have a repeat scan at 32 to 34 weeks. Ninety-five percent of placentas that are low will have moved to a normal higher position by 32 to 34 weeks.

Q: What is an epidural?
A: An epidural is an injection in your back that blocks the pain impulses coming from your womb. It is usually a very effective method of pain relief with few side effects. It may reduce your ability to push the baby out and can slow the later stages of labor.

Q: What if I am having a lot of nausea and vomiting early in pregnancy?
A: Most women have some nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Sensible dietary adjustments should help. It usually persists but diminishes around 15 weeks when it becomes insignificant. It is probably a response to the early pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). Medication can be given if necessary. Rarely admission to the hospital with the use of intravenous fluids may be necessary. An ultrasound scan should be performed to rule out multiple pregnancy and hydatidiform mole.

Q: What if I have vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy?
A: Many women experience a small amount of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. If this is associated with sharp lower abdominal pain and a history of ectopic pregnancy, you should call your doctor immediately. If there is a history of previous early miscarriage, then an ultrasound scan will be reassuring. If there is a relative lack of breast tenderness, urinary symptoms or nausea, then a viable pregnancy should be confirmed by ultrasound scan. The vast majority of women with bleeding in early pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby at term.

Q: Should I be concerned if I have had a previous ectopic pregnancy?
A: Yes. You should have an assessment and ultrasound scan at six to seven weeks. Most subsequent pregnancies are in the normal place and progress to the birth of a healthy baby.

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