At your first prenatal visit, you will probably donate a surprising quantity of blood for “blood tests”. Most are “routine”, and some will give your clinician a good overview of your general health. Other blood tests are very specific for common disorders which could impact your pregnancy. These blood tests (and others done later in pregnancy) may include the following:
Your urine may contain several substances which may be of interest to your doctor or midwife. Your urine is the product of your “urinary tract”. Another term, renal, refers more specifically to the kidneys themselves. Your urinary tract consists of the urethra, bladder and kidneys (2 kidneys, right and left). The kidneys filter impurities from your blood. Your kidneys are extremely delicate organs. If they are damaged, these impurities can build up in your blood, and substances which should stay in your blood can leak out into the urine. Your kidneys also secrete substances that are partly responsible for control of your blood pressure.
The care you receive from a midwife or physician during your pregnancy is called prenatal care. The focus of good prenatal care is early detection of problems, health and nutritional education, parenting education, and establishment of a relationship with your health care system.
100 years ago, one doctor was very much like the next, at least in their base of knowledge. Medicine had not yet branched out into the specialities which are common today. Accordingly, a midwife was almost always a layperson with some experience in assisting women giving birth in the home. Today there seems to be a specialist physician for every part of the body, and there are now several distinct categories of midwives.
The large majority of the pregnant women reading this will have their babies in hospitals attended by obstetricians. However, for most women there are other options which are equally safe and may address your personal needs and philosophy.
When women are pregnant iron requirements considerably increase. Iron is important to have good hemoglobin level, thanks to which oxygen is delivered to the cells in the whole organism. When you are pregnant, you have more blood and, consequently, need to care about the additional blood. Blood test is taken by your practitioner during pregnancy to determine your hemoglobin level.
Episiotomy is the procedure of enlarging the vaginal opening to accomodate the birth of the baby. With an episiotomy, a doctor or midwife cuts the perineum as the fetal head is about to be born. The perineum is the tissue between the opening of the vagina and the anus. As the baby’s head is about to be born, the perineum flattens out and cut be cut easily with surgical scissors. Episiotomy is the second most common surgical procedure in the U.S……second only to circumcision. And the topic is right up there with circumcision as far as controversy goes. The camps are divided on whether routine episiotomy is a good or bad thing.