Prenatal care is an important part of keeping you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy. You will partner with a specialized medical provider, who will monitor your health and the development of your baby through regular check-ups and routine testing.
Options for prenatal care
At Cape Cod Healthcare, you have options for your care:
- Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYNs): board-certified physicians who specialize in pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery care in addition to reproductive health
- Midwives: Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) provide women-centered care throughout your pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond, with a nurturing and educational approach. Our skilled CNMs work closely with obstetricians should additional medical intervention become necessary. In-office prenatal care is offered at Cape Cod Hospital OB/GYN and hospitalist midwifery is available at The Family Birthplace at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital.
- Some women may partner with an OB/GYN for prenatal care and with a midwife during their maternity stay for labor and birth support.
Nurse practitioners and nurses complete your circle of prenatal care.
What to expect
Regular check-ups are an important part of your prenatal care, allowing your obstetrician or midwife to detect any problems throughout the course of your pregnancy and prevent issues during childbirth.
- During the 40 weeks of pregnancy, the typical prenatal appointment schedule would be:
- Monthly until week 28
- Every 2 weeks from weeks 28-36
- Weekly from week 36 to birth
- Women with high-risk pregnancies would be seen more frequently
- After an initial review of your health, medical history and pregnancy risk factors, your provider will run routine screenings throughout your pregnancy that test you for:
- Rh factor compatibility
- Certain sexually transmitted diseases
- Blood type
- Immunity to chickenpox and German measles (Rubella)
- Certain infectious diseases
- Gestational diabetes
- Your provider will assess the health and development of the baby through several prenatal tests.
- At each prenatal check-up, your provider will monitor your blood pressure and weight, and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Additionally, these regular check-ups provide an opportunity for you and your provider to discuss nutrition and lifestyle aspects such as exercise, stress reduction, social support and more.
Pregnancy, birth and parenting classes & more
Pregnancy, birth and parenting classes, events and support groups for the whole family are available at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital and also include a tour of the Family Birthplace at your chosen hospital.
During your 6th month of pregnancy, we highly recommend registering online for one of the many classes we offer for childbirth education. Additionally, an “Early Bird Prenatal Workshop” is offered at Cape Cod Hospital for women 1-4 months pregnant, which covers topics such as fetal development, nutrition, and early concerns.