We’re here to help answer all your questions

Pregnancy is such an exciting journey, but we know that you may have questions and concerns along the way. We are here to help make sure all your questions are answered and concerns are heard and addressed.

Pregnant woman

We have created a list of frequently asked questions to provide you with important information for peace of mind. We acknowledge that you may have questions outside this list, so we encourage you to reach out to your health care provider for any additional questions or clarifications you may need.

Care questions

Are there other ways I can contact the office besides calling?
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As part of your care, we encourage you to create a MyChart account at mychart.spectrumhealth.org.

Your MyChart account has specific pregnancy features, including:

  • Tracking the growth of your baby week by week during pregnancy and seeing which fruit size is comparable to your baby’s current development 
  • Completing your birth plan and saving it to your medical chart 
  • Maintaining a list of tasks for you to complete to prepare for your baby

This account will also allow you to see test results, email your provider, refill prescriptions, request appointments, and see office visit notes.  

Your MyChart account will provide these benefits beyond your pregnancy and connect you with all of your Spectrum Health providers. 

What foods should I avoid?
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  • Discuss any herbal supplements with your provider before taking them
  • Avoid any fish caught locally (inland lakes, rivers, and the Great Lakes). We encourage you to eat up to 12 ounces a week of low-mercury fish (e.g., salmon, tilapia), but limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week. You should not consume any raw fish or seafood. You should also avoid swordfish, shark, and tuna streaks, as they are more likely to be high in mercury
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and apple cider
  • Avoid consuming over 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is roughly equivalent to one 12-ounce cup of coffee. However, caffeine can also be found in other sources such as tea, chocolate, and some sodas
How much weight is safe to gain?
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We encourage you to eat a healthy balanced diet with three servings of protein each day. The amount of weight gain that is recommended in pregnancy depends on your health and your body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy. Your provider will discuss recommended weight gain with you during your first appointment.

Can I go to the dentist?
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Yes, it is important for you to continue routine dental care during your pregnancy.

Some things to keep in mind prior to receiving dental care are:

  • Inform your dentist: Make sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant and provide them with relevant details about your pregnancy, such as the trimester and any specific concerns you may have
  • Dental procedures: Routine dental procedures such as cleanings, fillings, and root canals can typically be performed during pregnancy. However, non-emergency appointments, such as elective procedures or cosmetic treatments, should be scheduled 13 weeks after pregnancy
  • X-rays: If X-rays are being taken, be sure to have a shield placed over your abdomen
  • Anesthesia and medication: Local anesthesia is generally safe during pregnancy. However, it is important to let your dentist know about your pregnancy so they can choose appropriate anesthetics and medication. Some medications, specifically certain antibiotics and pain relievers, may need to be avoided during pregnancy

Always talk with your provider and dentist to address any concerns or specific recommendations based on your individual pregnancy.

Where can I sign up for prenatal classes?
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What is a certified nurse midwife?
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A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse with a graduate education in midwifery. They have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). This education includes a university degree as well as hands-on clinical training by practicing CNMs. CNMs are collaborative physicians, and we have provider teams in our offices as well as our hospitals.

What does midwifery care mean?
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Midwifery care is unique, individualized care. Midwifery services include general health check-ups and physical exams, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care, well-woman gynecologic care, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. Certified nurse midwives can also prescribe medications and offer treatment options.

Midwifery offers patient-centered care during labor and delivery, minimizing technological interventions while providing continuous hands-on assistance and guidance during labor and birth. All our midwives are trained to monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout pregnancy and beyond. Throughout treatment, midwives will address complications that may require them to partner with an OB-GYN.

What is a doula?
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A doula is a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after delivery. We do not have employed doulas. However, please feel free to bring one to your delivery.

What is prenatal genetic testing?
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Prenatal genetic testing via non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) is a screening blood test done any time after 10 weeks to screen for too many or not enough copies of certain chromosomes. This test studies fetal DNA (genetic material) in your blood to see if there is anything that needs closer follow-up. Knowing this information can be helpful for you and your provider to better manage your pregnancy.

NIPT is a screening test, meaning that it only tells you whether your baby is more or less at risk for certain conditions and is not a diagnosis. This test cannot detect all genetic changes that could lead to health problems.

There are multiple genetic tests that can be done and this is a conversation you can have with your provider. The decision to have the screening is yours. If you would like more information, ask your provider how you can schedule a 15-minute information session with a certified genetic counselor.

What is genetic carrier screening?
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Genetic carrier screening is a blood test that checks your genes to determine whether you are a carrier of 14 genetic conditions that are advised for screening during childbearing years.

You can complete this test while pregnant or before you become pregnant. This test only needs to be completed once. If you screen positive, we recommend that your partner also gets screened to determine a potential pregnancy risk.

It is important to remember that no test can detect 100% of genetic carriers. Although the chance is small, even if your test is negative, it is still possible that you could be a carrier.

While the decision to have the screening is yours, your provider is here to help provide guidance. If you would like more information, ask your provider how you can schedule a 15-minute information session with a certified genetic counselor.

I was told I need an NST. What is that?
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A non-stress test (NST) is non-invasive and involves monitoring the baby’s heart rate using an external monitor. This monitor is placed on your abdomen. The average time of the test is 30 minutes. If you have questions about the purpose of the test, please call our office and speak to one of our nurses.

Is virtual OB-GYN care safe?
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If you are eligible to receive virtual care, this means that you will have a combination of in-person and virtual visits. We will provide you with a kit to support virtual visits during your pregnancy. We do ask that you return the kit after your 37-week virtual visit to allow other patients to have the same experience and convenience you had. This kit consists of a blood pressure cuff and fetal Doppler. Whether you are in person or virtual, we are committed to providing you with the most comprehensive care possible.

Where can I find more information about pregnancy? 
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You can find more information on the following websites: 

Additional online patient educational materials, known as EMMI modules, can be provided to you by your provider at appropriate times during your pregnancy. Talk with your provider for additional information.  Your provider will also share educational materials at the end of your visit, which you can find on MyChart in your after visit summary.

Insurance questions

What is considered routine prenatal care by most insurances?
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Routine prenatal care visits are one of the best ways to promote a healthy pregnancy and receive information to help keep you and your baby healthy. It is important that you attend all your prenatal appointments. Routine prenatal care in your provider’s office includes:

  • A physical examination
  • Recording of weight
  • Blood pressure check
  • Fetal heart tone check
  • Monthly visits up to 28 weeks’ gestation, biweekly visits between 28 and 36 weeks, and weekly visits from 36 weeks until delivery

Routine prenatal care does not include:

  • New problems identified by you or your provider
  • Management of medications or treatment of conditions not related to your pregnancy
What is covered by my insurance during my pregnancy? How much will I have to pay?
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Every insurance plan is different. We encourage you to contact your insurance company for coverage details specific to your plan. Prenatal care includes visits directly related to caring for your pregnancy. Conditions treated unrelated to pregnancy, such as colds or sore throats, may result in additional co-pays or charges. Often, routine prenatal lab work and/or ultrasounds are left to your deductible, so although they are covered by insurance, you may still be responsible for charges.

Lifestyle questions

Can I travel?
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Many women can travel during their pregnancy. It is important to discuss travel plans with your provider, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy or history of pre-term labor. Some important things to remember about travel are:

  • If you are traveling by airplane or train, please be sure to check the requirements for pregnant passengers
  • Long-distance travel (over 1 hour away from the hospital) after 36 weeks of pregnancy should always be discussed with your provider
  • Always wear your lap and shoulder seat belt. The lap belt should be worn across your hips and under your belly, and the shoulder harness above your belly
  • If you are traveling long distance, get out of the car every few hours and walk around
  • Try to avoid high-sodium (salty) foods and drink plenty of water
Can I continue to work?
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Most women can continue to work throughout their pregnancy. If you are employed where you may be exposed to hazardous materials or chemicals, your employer should have a Material Safety Data Sheet or Right to Know manual available to explain any risks that you could incur through exposure.

Some important things to remember about working are:

  • Avoid prolonged sitting and standing
  • Avoid chemical and toxic fumes, and be aware of what is in your workplace
  • Do not lift more than 25 pounds
  • Do not climb a ladder, as balance can be affected by your expanding belly
  • If you work around X-rays, use the proper equipment

Create a MyChart account

Stay connected with your providers and up to date with your care.