A baby is a miracle, one that expecting mothers can protect before, during and even after the baby makes its appearance.
If you’re planning to start or expand a family, the first thing to do is meet with your gynecologist, says Dr. Kelli Kilgore, an OB-GYN at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.
“Appointment by appointment, there is a lot of counseling about pregnancy precautions, travel, medications and reviewing your risk factors,” Kilgore says. “Aside from that, every visit is pretty much going over the expectations for that gestational age.”
While a lot of that information may seem self-explanatory for seasoned mothers, there are a lot of questions for first-time moms. It’s also a good time to review the basics, like making sure mom takes prenatal vitamins.
OB-GYNs now can offer earlier screenings to reveal gender or detect genetic complications like Down syndrome. It’s important to go over these options with your provider, Kilgore says, and it’s even more important to follow through with the more crucial screenings, because they will ensure a healthy baby and mother.
Once expecting mothers get closer to their third trimester, it’s time to start thinking about a birth plan. Kilgore says Good Shepherd Hospital promotes vaginal births as much as possible, but mothers need to understand that C-sections are sometimes necessary. Going over pain management is important.
During pregnancy, most hospitals offer classes to help parents prepare. Once the baby has arrived, there are still many resources to help women ease into their new roles as mothers. This includes a lactation consultant who can help with breastfeeding struggles, a breastfeeding support group for moms and one of the most important conversation topics: postpartum depression.
Through it all, the OB-GYN is there to help. “There is not a question that is ever too stupid to ask your OB-GYN, ever,” Kilgore says. “Most of the time, 100 other people have had that exact same question.”
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is located at 450 W. Hwy. 22 in Barrington, (847) 381-0123.