Prenatal Care In Calgary
What To Expect From Prenatal Care
Avenue Maternity is here to support and educate you throughout your pregnancy and afterward. As your body changes throughout your pregnancy experience, each trimester brings new milestones in your baby’s development, changes to your body, and tasks and preparations to undertake.
The first trimester lasts from week 1 through the end of week 13. During this time, your body will undergo extraordinary changes in a relatively short amount of time.
The second trimester lasts from weeks 14 through the end of week 27. This time will bring, most likely, a welcome relief from early pregnancy symptoms for you.
The third trimester lasts from week 28 through 40 and brings with it some added discomfort. Hang in there – you are almost to the finish line!
Bringing home a new baby is a special time. It takes patience to take care of your baby and your postpartum body. There’s no right way, only what works best for you and your baby.
Our Maternity Clinic in Calgary
First pregnancy and lots of questions? Our Maternity Clinic in Calgary will answer them. Third baby and forgetful? Not a problem. Feeling overwhelmed after you deliver? We can address that too.
No matter what your concerns, we endeavor to assist our patients in navigating safely through the course of their pregnancy and beyond. We hope to provide you with the tools you need to enter into labour, confident and prepared. Our office can often see patients on short notice. It is important that you call the office first thing in the morning if a concern arises. We will do our very best to try and accommodate you.
For the safety of our patients, our Calgary maternity clinic can only provide care for those patients that are deemed to be low-risk. High-risk patients, such as those with complex or emergent medical conditions during pregnancy, or those patients with significant fetal malformations detected on ultrasound, are best followed by an obstetrician.
Some Important Dates To Remember
9-12 weeks: First Prenatal Visit +/- Dating Ultrasound
9-14 weeks: First Trimester Screen for Chromosomal Abnormalities and Nuchal Ultrasound
18-20 weeks: Ultrasound for Fetal Anatomy
24-28 weeks: Diabetes of Pregnancy Screen
36 weeks: Group B Strep Swab
37 weeks: Delivery (variable)
Preparing For Your First Visit
At your first visit, you will be asked to complete a comprehensive medical history form. This was allow the physician to identify any risks with your pregnancy as well as assist the physician in building a prenatal record for you. It is important that you try and obtain and remember the details of your medical history, family history, and prior pregnancy history.The Alberta Prenatal Record is a document that summarizes your medical history as well as the events and investigations that occur during your pregnancy. A copy of this document will be provided to you later in your pregnancy (36th week of pregnancy) and is meant to accompany you when you go to the hospital.The physician may perform a brief examination at the first visit, as well as order any outstanding tests for pregnancy.
Subsequent Prenatal Visits
In order to ensure a healthy pregnancy, we encourage you to attend all of your prenatal appointments. Generally, you will be seen every 4 weeks until 28 weeks gestation, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks gestation, and finally every week until delivery. On occasion, your physician may need to see you more often depending on the course of your pregnancy.At every visit, the fetal heart rate will be checked to ensure it is beating at an appropriate rate. After 20 weeks, your tummy will be measured each visit to check the growth of the baby. At 30 weeks and beyond, the presentation of the baby is checked each visit to determine whether the baby is facing head down (vertex) rather than feet first (breech). The great majority of babies will be head down, which is the ideal presentation for delivery.
You and your baby will receive several check-ups after delivery, prior to being discharged back to your family physician. We will make sure that any outstanding issues are addressed and/or communicated to your regular doctor. During these visits, we will focus on your mood, bleeding, future contraceptive plans, and general health.
Prenatal Genetic Screening
It is recommended that all women who are pregnant receive general prenatal lab testing to evaluate the health of their pregnancy.
In addition to this, some women choose to have additional testing performed to determine the chance of having chromosomal abnormalities (such as Down Syndrome) that lead to birth defects. This is generally referred to as prenatal genetic testing. Women should know that this additional testing is OPTIONAL.
First Trimester Screening
The blood test can be performed any time after 9 weeks, and the ultrasound any time between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. The blood test should be completed at least three days before the ultrasound.
Maternal Serum Screening
This test is performed between 15 and 20 weeks.
Non-invasive Prenatal Testing
Timing for this test is variable depending on the testing provider. It is generally done after 9 or 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Please note that these screening tests only provide a chance or probability of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. False positive and false negative results do occur. False positive results, where the baby is normal and the testing reveals an abnormality, are possible with ANY prenatal screening test. Many women who have positive screening tests are carrying a health baby.
Cut-off values are set for these screening tests, to determine which women will benefit from additional testing.
For those women with positive tests, further diagnostic testing can be performed in the second trimester to confirm the abnormalities found in the screening test. This additional testing is also OPTIONAL. There are risks to these diagnostic tests, which is why these tests are generally only performed on high-risk women, or women with positive screening tests. These risks include miscarriage (1/200 women), harm to the baby (minimal risk), bleeding, cramping, or infection.
What is NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing)?
It is a safe and highly accurate screening test for Down syndrome and trisomy 18 that is done through a blood test. It detects almost all babies with Down syndrome and trisomy 18. This means that if the test is negative, the chance of Down syndrome or trisomy 18 is extremely small. If the test is positive, the chance is higher. An amniocentesis would then be offered to confirm the positive NIPT. The NIPT test result is available in about 10 days.
Ask Your Family Doctor For A Referral