If you are planning a pregnancy, an obstetrician will be an important member of your healthcare team. They specialize in caring for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, and can also help care for your health before you become pregnant. You can find out more about the benefits of seeing an obstetrician below.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN OBSTETRICIAN?
Obstetricians are physicians who specialize in caring for people during pregnancy right through to giving birth and during the postpartum period (the first few weeks after childbirth). They manage and treat health conditions related to pregnancy to keep you and your baby in the best health possible. Obstetricians are also highly skilled in performing surgical procedures related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The most common of these surgeries include:
- Vaginal delivery
- Cesarean delivery
- Cervical cerclage
- Dilation and curettage (D&C)
- Assisted births – with forceps or vacuum
WHY CHOOSE AN OBSTETRICIAN?
Obstetricians can provide a number of important benefits during the different stages of pregnancy and can be a crucial part of your healthcare team.
Here are some of the important benefits of seeing an obstetrician at each stage of pregnancy:
Preconception is the stage before pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, an obstetrician can help ensure you are in the best health possible beforehand and help you prepare for a safe and healthy pregnancy by providing preconception counseling.
Preconception counseling involves an appointment with your obstetrician to help plan for a future pregnancy. The appointment is recommended at least 3 months before you start trying to get pregnant. During the appointment, your obstetrician will discuss all aspects of your health, including your personal medical history, OB/GYN history, family health history, lifestyle, and any potential risk factors. They will carry out a physical exam during your visit to assess your general health. The appointment may also involve tests, such as blood tests, a Pap smear, and diabetic screening, to assess different areas of your health. Other screening tests may be recommended, such as an STI or HIV screening, to help you have a healthy, safe pregnancy.
It is important for your obstetrician to evaluate all areas of your health so that they can gain an overall picture and can use the information to help identify any potential risk factors associated with pregnancy. Areas they will focus on related to your health history may include:
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Medications you are taking
- Past surgeries or procedures
- Menstrual health
- Mental health issues
- Sexual health history, such as contraceptive use and any previous STIs
- Previous pregnancies
Your obstetrician can help you prepare for a pregnancy by offering guidance and advice to stay healthy, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, and taking certain vitamins and supplements to benefit your pregnancy and overall health. If there are any concerns about your health, your obstetrician may recommend further tests or investigations or may refer you to see a specialist for any health problems prior to conceiving. If you are not up-to-date with your vaccinations, your obstetrician will likely recommend getting these updated prior to getting pregnant.
Your obstetrician will provide routine prenatal care if you are pregnant. This includes things like prenatal screenings, lab tests, and examinations, regularly evaluating your baby’s size, position, and growth, and assessing your baby’s health and development using ultrasound. You will first visit your obstetrician between 7-8 weeks after your last menstrual period and will then meet with them regularly throughout your pregnancy(and for several weeks once you have given birth).
In addition to monitoring your general wellness during pregnancy, your obstetrician will work with you to detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent any health conditions or complications during pregnancy. This may include conditions such as infections, gestational diabetes, nausea, sickness, or preeclampsia. If health conditions are left untreated, it may affect your pregnancy or baby or could lead to serious health complications. In some cases, if you are considered to have a higher-risk pregnancy, your obstetrician may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for additional care during your pregnancy. This ongoing prenatal care helps to ensure the health and wellness of you and your baby and gives your baby the best start in life.
In addition to treating medical conditions unique to pregnancy, obstetricians are highly trained in delivering babies. They can help induce labor, manage medications and labor pain relief, and perform surgeries related to labor and delivery. When necessary, an obstetrician can also manage emergencies during delivery.
During labor, your obstetrician will closely monitor both you and your baby. Fetal monitoring allows your obstetrician to assess how well the baby is handling labor and whether any medical intervention is necessary. It monitors your baby’s heart rate and other information, including the frequency, strength, and duration of your contractions.
There are different options for childbirth, including a vaginal delivery and cesarean section. Your obstetrician can work with you to decide which option is best for you and your baby depending on factors such as your overall health, pregnancy details, previous pregnancies, and personal preferences. Although vaginal delivery is considered the most common and safest type of delivery, other methods, including assisted delivery, may be recommended for medical reasons, such as if you or your baby show signs of distress during labor. In some cases, your obstetrician may recommend a planned cesarean section delivery, such as if you are expecting multiples or your baby is breech.
You will usually see your obstetrician within a few weeks of giving birth – this is the postpartum stage. Postpartum visits allow your obstetrician to check that no complications have developed since the birth of your baby and to check your overall health and well-being and that of your baby. If any concerns are raised, your obstetrician can source the appropriate help as soon as possible to prevent complications.
The weeks following birth are a crucial stage for a mother and her baby in regard to long-term health and overall well-being. Postpartum care visits are designed to assess physical, social, and psychological well-being, such as feeding, infant care, mood and emotional well-being, and physical recovery from birth. The initial postpartum assessment should be followed up with proactive ongoing care from your healthcare team as needed to ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby.
OBSTETRICIAN IN WOOSTER, OHIO
If you are looking for high-quality individualized care during pregnancy, visit the skilled, compassionate obstetricians and providers at Wooster Community Hospital. Our experienced obstetricians deliver expert care and the special touch you deserve to make the birth of your baby a cherished occasion.
The Women’s Pavilion is a Level II maternity service meaning that if any complications should arise before or after delivery, you and your family will be appropriately cared for. At Wooster Community Hospital, we also work in collaboration with Akron Children’s Hospital to provide a special care nursery for newborns requiring additional care.
If you would like more information about our OB services, contact the Women’s Pavilion at (330) 202-5540. We welcome your call!