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During Your Pregnancy

At Baptist Heath Deaconess Madisonville, we see taking care of moms-to-be and babies as the first step in a life-long care relationship. Many women who have had babies at our facility continue to see our doctors throughout their lives. Babies born here often continue to visit Baptist Health Deaconess providers for their well-child care. We treat your family as part of our family.  

It all starts with you. Our obstetricians and nurse practitioners offer exceptional care throughout every stage of your pregnancy. 

Prenatal (pregnancy care) professionals see patients in their second-floor Women’s Center offices in the Baptist Health Deaconess Center of Excellence (COE). The COE is conveniently located adjacent to Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville Hospital. 

Why Choose Baptist Health Deaconess During Your Pregnancy?
Preparing for your baby’s birth is often an exciting process. However, this time can also be filled with concerns and questions. We understand. Our family-oriented providers will be with you every step of the way. 

When you choose Baptist Health Deaconess for your prenatal care, you can expect: 

  • Comprehensive prenatal visits: You’ll have regular appointments with your doctor or nurse practitioner throughout your pregnancy. Your care team will consist of physicians and advanced practitioners. Each team member will share in your care, as you could see any of our providers during your pregnancy. Each visit will include a blood pressure check, weight check, listening and evaluation of baby's heart rate, and a growth assessment. A cornerstone of our service is our distinctive CenteringPregnancy® prenatal program. We’re the exclusive provider of this program in Western Kentucky. 
  • Detailed health screenings and diagnostic tests: We’ll check you and your baby throughout your pregnancy for common health conditions and genetic irregularities. In addition, we’re the only location between Madisonville and Paducah to offer specialized Level II ultrasounds with a GE Voluson™ S6 ultrasound machine. This ultrasound, which uses safe sound waves to create images, shows incredible anatomical details of your baby — from his or her brain all the way down to the veins and arteries in his or her tiny toes.
  • Support from maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists: We work closely with MFM specialists, who are available 24 hours a day via live videoconference from Lexington. MFM experts work with women who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies or who develop problems during pregnancy such as early labor or high blood pressure (preeclampsia/eclampsia).

What to Expect During Prenatal Care Visits
At Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, you’ll see your healthcare provider regularly during your pregnancy. At these appointments, we’ll check the health of you and your baby, and perform routine physical exams and tests. We’ll also talk about the physical changes you are experiencing and answer all of your questions and concerns.

These appointments are a good time to ask your provider questions such as:

  • What foods should I make sure to eat while I’m pregnant?
  • Which prenatal vitamin is right for me?
  • Is it safe for me to travel right now?
  • What over-the-counter and prescription drugs are safe to use while I’m pregnant? Learn more about the risks involved with medicine use during pregnancy.
  • What do I need to know about sex, exercise, and sleeping during pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits of avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs while I’m pregnant? Learn more about our smoking cessation classes and the risks involved with alcohol use during pregnancy.

Centering Pregnancy program
In addition to your individual exams with your provider, you’ll have the option of spending another 90 minutes at each prenatal visit attending our CenteringPregnancy educational program. Baptist Health Deaconess prenatal professionals lead all 10 of these sessions. 

Why group classes? We’ve found that moms-to-be tend to ask more questions about their health and get more detailed answers in group sessions than they might in one-on-one visits with their health professionals. Plus, you won’t need to sign up for separate childbirth classes. We’ll cover all of that information in these meetings.

CenteringPregnancy sessions are also a great way to meet other local moms who are having babies around the same time as you are. Future playdates, anyone?

Dental and Oral Health During Your Pregnancy
Hormonal changes while you’re pregnant can cause all sorts of physical changes in your body beyond your swelling belly. Many women notice big changes in their teeth and gums. You might notice that your gums bleed more easily, for instance. And even if you’ve never had a cavity, you could develop several of them while you’re pregnant.

It’s important to see a dental professional while you’re pregnant. You may also want to step up your home care, with more flossing and brushing. 

During Your First Trimester
Your first trimester of pregnancy officially begins on the first day of your last period and runs 14 weeks. You’ll probably see your health provider every four weeks. 

During this time, your provider will give you physical and pelvic exams. Your doctor will try to determine your baby’s due date, and review your personal and family health history. They will also talk about whether you have any pregnancy risk factors to consider.

Common first trimester lab tests
You’ll undergo some common tests during this part of your pregnancy. These include prenatal labs, possible dating ultrasound, and genetic testing as recommended per your discussion with your provider. 

First trimester: When to call your provider
You may notice some uncomfortable physical sensations during your first trimester of pregnancy, including fuller breasts and nausea. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may need to be treated for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg implants outside your uterus), miscarriage or preeclampsia/eclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure). 

Call your provider right away if you experience:

  • Heavy bleeding that causes you to soak more than one feminine pad an hour for three hours 
  • Severe abdominal cramping or pain and/or uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe cramping in your arms, legs or chest 
  • Fainting, dizziness and/or high fever — over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Pain, burning or difficulty urinating and/or unusually heavy or foul-smelling vaginal discharge 
  • Swelling in your face, hands or fingers
  • Blurred vision or seeing spots in front of your eyes; intense, ongoing headaches

During Your Second Trimester
Many moms-to-be feel a bit better from weeks 14-28 of their pregnancy. You may not be as tired or nauseated as you were during your first trimester. Your baby is doing a lot of growing during this time, though. You’ll typically continue seeing your prenatal provider every four weeks. 

Although it may seem a bit early, your second trimester is a great time to start developing your personal birth plan. A birth plan is a list that helps your doctor know your preferences during labor and delivery. For instance, do you want pain medication? Do you have a preferred physical position for delivery? Who would you like to have in the delivery room with you?

Common second trimester lab test
You’ll undergo a few routine tests during this portion of your pregnancy:

  • Glucola test: You’ll visit a lab and drink a sweet liquid (called Glucola) to test for gestational diabetes. The test takes about an hour. Gestational diabetes is a unique type of blood sugar condition that only develops when you’re pregnant. Learn more about gestational diabetes. 

Second trimester: When to call your provider
Most pregnant women feel energetic and healthy during this trimester. However, there’s always a chance that you or your baby could develop health problems or that you could go into premature labor. In addition to the symptoms described for your first trimester, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Intense cramping or abdominal pain 
  • A significant decrease in your baby’s movement after week 28 (fewer than about 6 to 10 movements in an hour) 
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Tightening or pain in your back or lower abdomen that could be contractions
  • Feeling of intense pressure in your pelvis or vagina 
  • Any vaginal bleeding or leaking fluid

During Your Third Trimester
You’re getting close to meeting your new baby! Weeks 28+ of your pregnancy are the final of your three trimesters. You’ll see your doctor every two to three weeks until your last month of pregnancy. At that point, you’ll have weekly appointments until your baby is born. 

In most cases, your labor will start on its own somewhere after week 37. Baptist Health Deaconess follows the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recommendation to let labor progress on its own. Moms who aren’t induced (which means having labor brought on with medication and other techniques) tend to have fewer health complications. Induction of labor is only considered after careful conversations between provider and patient. Unless there is a medical condition, no induction will take place prior to 39 weeks of gestational age. 

Common third trimester lab tests
Tests you undergo in this stage are to make sure you and your baby are ready for a healthy delivery. They include:

  • Cervical Evaluation: This is done per your provider recommendation.

Important things to do during your third trimester
If you haven’t already written your birth plan (see During Your Second Trimester), this is a smart time to do that. This is also the time to take care of these common to-do items:

  • Early-in-trimester tasks
    • Take a Labor & Delivery tour: Contact Labor & Delivery unit to arrange a group or individual tour.
    • Preregister at your hospital: Trust us — you won’t be in the mood to fill out paperwork and dig out your insurance card when you’re in active labor. Preregister at with us by filling out an information card. You’ll show this card to our registration or security staff, then head directly to Labor & Delivery.
    • Choose your baby’s doctor:  We require you to have a primary care provider (PCP) picked out for your baby before you deliver. Your baby’s PCP should examine your baby a few days after he or she goes home. Find a pediatrician or family health provider in your area.
  • Close-to-delivery tasks
    • Pack for your hospital stay: Have a bag packed and ready.
    • Visit a lactation (breastfeeding) specialist: If you’re planning to breastfeed, talking to an expert can help you prepare your body and decide on helpful supplies like a breast pump.
    • If possible, take a vacation before baby arrives:  Go on a “babymoon” if you can. A short trip can be a nice opportunity for you and your partner to rest and spend uninterrupted time together before your little one arrives. Be sure to talk in advance to your healthcare provider, in case he or she suggests any travel restrictions.

Find a Baptist Health Deaconess Pregnancy Care Provider Near You

Our doctors are honored to be part of your family’s pregnancy and birth experience. Call us at 270-326-3900 or search for a Baptist Health Deaconess health care practitioner in the Madisonville area.

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