Women’s Health A-Z
Pregnancy & Prenatal Care
Looking for prenatal care programs and pregnancy care in Richmond, VA? Call 804-897-2100 and schedule your appointment with VPFW today.
Pregnancy can be an exciting time for any woman, but with all the changes to your body come many questions. It’s important to find prenatal care service providers who can answer your questions and provide high-quality prenatal care at every stage of your pregnancy.
Whether you just found out you’re carrying a baby or you’re exploring the idea of bringing new life into the world, here’s what to expect through each stage of pregnancy and why it’s necessary to receive prenatal services.
Most women learn they are pregnant due to the absence of their period. They may also notice breast changes, fatigue, nausea, and mood swings. A urine pregnancy test is a good way to confirm that you are pregnant.
As soon as you have confirmed your pregnancy with an at-home test, call us at 804-897-2100 to schedule an appointment to start receiving our pregnancy care services. We can start with a pregnancy confirmation visit or we can schedule your first appointment and ultrasound for 8-10 weeks after the first day of your last period. If you have any questions, VPFW’s experienced phone advice nurses are happy to talk through everything with you.
You can take a look at our providers page to see which of our obstetricians deliver at which hospitals, find out where they see patients, and learn more about their backgrounds and specialties to decide which doctor you’d like to see for your first OB appointment.
Pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last menstrual period, and is broken up into three trimesters. The first trimester includes weeks 1-12 of your pregnancy. Your baby’s organs and systems are rapidly developing during the first trimester, which is why it is important to begin prenatal care with a provider you trust within the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy.
During your first trimester, your body is going through a lot of changes that may cause discomfort, but many of these symptoms will dissipate as you get closer to delivery. Every woman is different, so pregnancy symptoms can vary widely. Even women who have been pregnant before may have very different symptoms for the next pregnancies.
Pregnancy symptoms during the first trimester may include the following:
- Sore, swollen breasts
- Nausea, also known as morning sickness
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Abdominal cramping
You should call your physician if you experience cramps that are accompanied by vaginal bleeding, have cramps on one side of the abdomen only, have heavy bleeding, pass solid material, or are unable to keep liquids down due to vomiting.
For most women, many of the symptoms during their first trimester improve during the second trimester. However, other changes will progress during this time, including starting to show and starting to feel your baby move. Pregnancy symptoms during the second trimester may include the following:
- Body aches in your back, stomach, legs, or other area
- Swelling in your ankles, hands, face, or other area
- Darkening of skin around your nipples
- Stretch marks
- Frequent urination
- Urinary tract infections
- Irregular contractions
- Fetal movement
- Itching on abdomen, feet, and hands
You should call your physician if you experience cramps that are accompanied by vaginal bleeding, have cramps on one side of the abdomen only, have heavy bleeding, pass solid material, or are unable to keep liquids down due to vomiting. You should also call if you have itching associated with nausea, vomiting, jaundice, or fatigue and if you have sudden or extreme swelling.
The third trimester, which starts at 28 weeks, is the home stretch. This is particularly exciting but also means that your bump is at its biggest, which puts more pressure on your organs and can cause new symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms during the third trimester may include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent urination
- Spider veins and/or hemorrhoids
- Water breaking
It’s normal to feel more uncomfortable during this time, but if you’re experiencing severe cramping or hardship with any of these symptoms, you can contact us at 804-897-2100 and press 2 to speak with a phone nurse. We always have on-call doctors available should you go into labor or experience an emergency after hours.
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll work with your obstetrician to make sure both mom and baby are healthy. You’ll undergo routine tests to check for infections, anemia, conditions such as gestational diabetes, cystic fibrosis, chromosomal abnormalities, and other conditions and factors that may contribute to your and your baby’s health.
Your prenatal care will also include having ultrasounds, getting to listen to your baby’s heartbeat, and even finding out if it is a girl or a boy!
In addition to tests and exams, you’ll also partner with your physician to discuss nutrition dos and don’ts, talk about mental health, and get advice on what to expect during labor and delivery. It is also important to spend some time planning for your delivery and making sure that all necessary paperwork, such as FMLA and Disability forms, is complete.