Dr. Melka joins Dr. Fox on Healthful Woman to explain what women should do when they first find out they’re pregnant. She covers topics like when they should have their first appointment with an obstetrician, what types of appointments they will need to schedule when to start taking prenatal vitamins or adjusting their diets, and more.
“I’m Pregnant, Now What?” – with Dr. Stephanie Melka
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I’m Pregnant, Now What?
So, you just found out you’re pregnant- congrats! After the initial excitement dies down, your next thought is probably along the lines of, “what next?” Board-certified OB/GYNs Dr. Fox and Dr. Melka discuss this topic to help make your first steps of pregnancy easier.
Call Your Obstetrician
Once you have a positive pregnancy test, you should give your obstetrician a call. They will schedule your first appointment with them about 6-8 weeks from your last menstrual period, as this is when they will be able to gain some information via ultrasound regarding your pregnancy. During your first appointment, your doctor will speak with you regarding any medications you are on, any surgeries you have had, and other medical history information. The main goal of the first visit is to ensure that you are healthy, everything looks normal, and to answer any questions you may have.
Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
You will also want to start taking prenatal vitamins that include folic acid once you learn you are pregnant. Folic acid is particularly important to take since it lowers the risk of certain birth defects. The recommended dose of folic acid is 400 micrograms, which is also 0.4 milligrams.
You can also purchase your prenatal vitamins at your local pharmacy. “I don’t like prescription prenatal vitamins. I think they’re expensive. I mean, they’re really expensive,” said Dr. Melka, “There’s a lot out there of like, you know, clean pharmaceuticals and like the CVS brand has too many additives. And this other one doesn’t, but they all give you the basic stuff that you need.”
Consider What Kind of Birth You Would Like to Have
One decision that many newly pregnant women will start to think about is what kind of birth they will have. Will they have an obstetrician deliver their baby or a midwife? “Midwifery typically is lower risk healthier patients, as well as uncomplicated deliveries,” explained Dr. Melka. Patients who are high-risk or those who simply wish to be more closely monitored will benefit from hospital birth.
During the first trimester, you can also see multiple doctors and see whom you would like to work with. “You can change doctors. Obviously, when you get late in pregnancy it becomes more difficult logistically, but certainly, early in pregnancy, very, very easy to see a couple of people or a couple types of practices, and then make a decision whom I’m gonna follow with,” said Dr. Fox. There is also the choice of choosing a group practice or a solo practice. Some patients may feel that they wish to know exactly who will deliver them and choose a solo practice. However, “The big downside of a solo practice is if you could have a scheduled appointment and then if the doctor is doing a delivery, your appointment can get moved at the last minute or canceled, and that’s a barrier to some people,” Dr. Melka explained.
Be Aware of Your Diet
Once you are pregnant, you should take care to consider what you are putting into your body. Overall, avoid things that you could get physically ill from eating such as raw or undercooked things. Also, avoid unpasteurized dairy and large fish that contain mercury such as swordfish, shark, and mackerel.
Continue to Exercise
One thing that people are often very concerned about is that if they exercise early on in their pregnancy, they will miscarry. This is false! “Look, there are pregnancies that are going to miscarry anyway, no matter what someone does, but exercise will not,” said Dr. Melka. “There’s nothing physical like people will say like, ‘Can I run, but isn’t running gonna shake the baby out?’ No, it’s not.” However, women should take care not to push themselves hard in their workout routines. If you feel like you need to pull back on the intensity of your workouts once you are pregnant, that is OK- listen to your body.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!