The practitioners and staff at Capital Health OB/GYN - Hamilton understand that this is a very special time in your life and are delighted that you have chosen to place your trust in us. From the initial visit through the delivery and beyond, you will experience the highest level of care and compassion. Some of the most commonly asked questions during pregnancy relate to which medications are safe to take during pregnancy. We suggest that you not take any more medication than are necessary, especially during the first trimester which is when your baby's organs are most actively forming. However, we have outlined medications that we recognize as safe during pregnancy for common ailments. If you have any questions regarding medications that you have taken or that another physician may have prescribed for you, please contact us.
Genetic Carrier Screening
What is Genetic Carrier Screening & why is it beneficial?
Genetic tests are done by analyzing small samples of blood or body tissues. They determine whether you, your partner, or your baby carry genes for certain inherited disorders. Genes are made up of DNA molecules, which are the building blocks of heredity. They're grouped together in specific patterns within a person's chromosomes, forming the unique "blueprint" for every physical and biological characteristic of that person.
Humans have 46 chromosomes, arranged in pairs in every living cell of our bodies. When the egg and sperm join at conception, half of each chromosomal pair is inherited from each parent. This newly formed combination of chromosomes then copies itself again and again during fetal growth and development, passing identical genetic information to each new cell in the growing fetus.
Current science suggests that every human has about 25,000 genes per cell. An error in just one gene (and in some instances, even the alteration of a single piece of DNA) can sometimes be the cause for a serious medical condition.
Please visit https://www.integratedgenetics.com/videos to view more in depth information on Genetic Testing and what option is right for you.
Why is genetic testing important?
Getting tested once you become pregnant (if you hadn't done so ahead of time) can help you and your doctor decide the right prenatal tests for your baby, and what to look for if you choose to have them. If you know that your baby's at an increased risk for having cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease, for instance, these tests can reveal the presence, absence, or malformation of genes or chromosomes.
Genetic testing results give you an idea of your risk for passing along genes that can trigger certain diseases in your baby. Here are a few things to note:
- If neither you nor your partner is a carrier, your baby will not inherit the condition.
- If you are a carrier, but your partner is not (or vice-versa), your baby will not inherit the condition.
- If you and your partner are both carriers, your child has a 25 percent chance of inheriting the condition.
- You and your partner only need to be tested for your first pregnancy. There is no need to repeat the test for future pregnancies.
Chromosomal Abnormality Testing
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women, regardless of age, be offered the opportunity to have a screening test for chromosome abnormalities (called aneuploidy), like Down syndrome, before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Testing for these chromosome abnormalities are voluntary, meaning that it is your choice whether to have or not have these tests. The types of testing are screening tests and diagnostic tests.
Prenatal screening tests are safe, non-invasive procedures that identify small subgroups of expectant mothers that may be more likely to have a baby with a particular birth defect. However, for each individual pregnancy, a screening test can only provide a risk or probability that a particular condition exists.
Prenatal diagnostic tests allow your doctor to determine, before birth, whether your fetus has a problem such as Down syndrome. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are tests that help find genetic disorders before birth.
Genetic counseling is a service that can help you decide what testing to have, and what the test results mean. This is particularly important if you are not sure about what tests to do. A genetic counselor works with a person or family that may be at risk for an inherited disease or abnormal pregnancy outcome, discussing their chances of having children who are affected.
The following chart is a list of the tests offered at Capital Health OB/GYN - Hamilton. Amniocentesis and CVS are offered by the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. You may opt to have a genetic counseling consultation for a more in depth review of the screening and testing options.
Prenatal Screening Tests
|Screening Test||Test Type||What Does It Screen For?|
|Combined first-trimester screening||Blood test for PAPP-A and hCG, plus an ultrasound exam||Down syndrome
|Second-trimester single screen for neural tube defects||Blood test for AFP||Neural tube defects|
|Second-trimester quad screen||Blood test for AFP, hCG, estriol, and inhibin-A||Down syndrome
Neural tube defects
|Cell-free fetal DNA (cfDNA)||Blood test for circulating fetal DNA shedding into maternal blood||Down syndrome
Prenatal Diagnostic Tests
|Diagnostic Test||Test Type||What Does It Screen For?||When It Is Done|
|Amniocentesis||A thin needle is used to draw out a small amount of amniotic fluid and cells from the sac surrounding the fetus. The sample is sent to a lab for testing.||Chromosomal disorders, including Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 & Neural tube defects
Genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis & sickle cell
|Chorionic villus sampling||A needle removes a small sample of cells from the placenta to be tested.||Chromosomal disorders, including Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 & Neural tube defects
Genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis & sickle cell
Breastfeeding & Lactation
Breastfeeding your child is a very important health choice for both you and your baby. While it is not always feasible to breast feed if you are returning to work, any amount of time that you can do it will be beneficial to your baby. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. Breastfeeding is not only beneficial to your baby but to you as well. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers. Click here for more information on breastfeeding. While breastfeeding isn't the only option for feeding your baby, every mother has the potential to succeed and make it a wonderful experience. Lactation consultants are available to you both during your hospital stay and once you return home. Please visit our lactation site to find resources available to you.
Delivery and Childbirth Education
Childbirth is a remarkable experience for an expectant mother. Whether you are preparing to deliver your first child or your fifth, childbirth education classes can help you prepare for and understand what happens during the birthing process.
Childbirth education classes will also give your partner or labor coach the opportunity to better understand what happens during childbirth. These classes teach you to recognize the signs of labor, what pain management options you may have during labor and teaches the labor coach how to best support you during the process.
Cord Blood Collection
The doctors, midwives and staff of Capital Health OB/GYN - Hamilton believe it is important for all expectant parents to be thoroughly educated on the potential value of your baby's cord blood and the options available to you for saving it. Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after your baby has been delivered and the cord has been cut. The collection procedure is of no risk to the mother and the newborn. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells which are used in many lifesaving medical treatments today. Additionally stem cells are showing promise in the treatment of brain injury and juvenile diabetes. Cord blood an only be collected immediately following birth, so you should understand your choices and make a decision before your due date.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. This procedure is usually performed in the hospital prior to a newborn boy being discharged after delivery. For some parents, circumcision is a religious ritual. It can also be a matter of family tradition, personal hygiene or preventive health care.
While circumcision is relatively common in the United States, you may decide that it is not the right decision for your son.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) leaves the decision up to parents and supports use of pain relief for infants who chose to have the procedure.