obstetrician’s role begins at conception and usually ends in
the weeks following birth. Obstetricians provide prenatal care to
pregnant women with the goal of reducing the risk of prenatal
complications, overseeing the health of both the mother and the fetus,
and educating patients about nutrition, health and safety during
Prenatal care begins with the confirmation of pregnancy – usually
using a urine test that screens for elevated levels of the pregnancy
hormone, hCG. A physical exam and blood testing may follow, as well as a
doctor-patient interview about past pregnancies and family history.
Often, routine check-ups to monitor the growth and health of the fetus
and the mother continue once every four weeks for the first two
trimesters and once every two weeks for the final trimester.
Obstetricians provide “due dates” as estimations only. Some children
are born prior to their due date, and others are born after their due
date. Few are born on their original estimated dates of arrival. In some
cases, complications or pre-term labor can lead to an early delivery.
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