By Parul Nagar, D.O.
Hallmark Health Medical Associates
Always ask your doctor if you have questions during pregnancy or after your baby is born. That’s what they’re there for!
You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and heading into an exciting – albeit uncomfortable – time. You’re looking forward to seeing your new baby’s sweet face and finally holding that bundle of joy in your arms. You’ve been eating right, keeping physically active, and getting plenty of rest, but you also may be unsure about what to expect over the next few weeks.
If you’re wondering whether the exhaustion, mood swings, and swollen ankles are normal, or if you have basic labor and delivery questions, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor. We want you to feel comfortable and fully prepared for whatever may come up. In the meantime, here are answers to three of the most common questions we get from expecting moms.
1) How often should I see my obstetrician?
Toward the end of your pregnancy – about 36 weeks – you’ll start seeing your obstetrician every week or two. During these visits, we’ll continue to check your blood pressure and weight, measure your belly to make sure the baby is growing appropriately, and regularly monitor your baby’s heart rate.
We also want to take time to prepare you for what to expect during labor, answering any questions you may have and easing any anxiety you may be feeling. We also will encourage you to attend childbirth classes, if you haven’t already.
Now is also a good time to attend a neonatal CPR class, as well as any infant care classes that are available. These classes will help you to feel more confident in your childcare abilities and help make the last trimester fly by in no time.
2) Can I safely have sex?
Sexual activity during the third trimester may not be pleasurable, and if you aren’t feeling in the mood, don’t worry, it’s completely normal. With pregnancy symptoms like fatigue, nausea, severe heartburn, and just generally feeling uncomfortable, it’s not surprising you may not be interested in sexual activity. Some women, on the other hand, find their sexual drive running on high and may even crave sex.
If you haven’t experience complications during your pregnancy, and you are interested, it can be perfectly safe to engage in sexual activity. However, if you experience complications such as bleeding, stop and speaking with your obstetrician before trying again.
You may experience false labor, or Braxton Hicks contractions, after sexual activity; this is normal and you don’t need to panic. Monitor it to make sure that’s all you’re experiencing.
If you have experienced complications during your pregnancy, a more in-depth conversation with your obstetrician should take place before engaging in sexual activity.
3) What if I want a natural birth?
With all the media surrounding natural or holistic births, many women are interested in a medication-free birth, but you have to be prepared for all possibilities when it comes to labor. While we will do everything we can to respect your birth plan, our number one goal is a healthy mom and baby.
It’s important to remember that every woman and every delivery is different, so while you may have read numerous books about labor and been entertained by your friends’ birth stories, your experience is going to be unique to you. Keep an open mind about your birth plan and think of it as a wish list for your labor, rather than a hard and fast rule.
If you want a natural birth, we will certainly do what we can to help you achieve this goal. But don’t be afraid to ask for help or let us know if you decide you want an epidural. Remember, there is no medal for having a natural birth; the prize is holding your healthy baby.
No matter where you are in your pregnancy, if you have any questions, bring them up to your obstetrician. We are devoted to educating our patients throughout pregnancy to help ensure they have the safest and happiest delivery possible.
If you have questions about your pregnancy or you’d like to learn more about what to expect before delivery, schedule an appointment online with one of our OB/GYNs or call 855-446-2362.
Tags: OB/GYN, women's health