Importance of Proper Prenatal Care in NJ
The ultimate goal of any pregnancy is a healthy and successful birth, for both the mother and baby. A healthy birth starts with a healthy pregnancy, and for those with high-risk pregnancies in NJ, it may feel like there are obstacles to that goal throughout the pregnancy. Proper prenatal care often begins before a baby is even conceived, and continues throughout each stage of pregnancy. At New Jersey Perinatal Associates, we work with expectant mothers facing medical, obstetrical, and surgical risk factors of pregnancy and aid with both prenatal diagnosis and care for complications that may arise during the pregnancy. Along with keeping the mother and baby as healthy as possible, proper care also helps a mother stay informed about her pregnancy, her body, and her baby, so she has a clear idea of her unique pregnancy situation and what to keep an eye out for. Our care includes a wide variety of tests and procedures, utilized when necessary based on each patient’s specific pregnancy.
How to Prepare for Your Appointment at NJPA and What to Expect
When you are scheduled for an appointment or test of any kind at NJPA, we will ensure that you understand what to expect and how to prepare. Learn more about some of the tests we perform and how patients can ensure they are fully prepared for their appointment. Please note that these guidelines should not cause extreme discomfort or pain; you should drink only until your bladder is at a full yet comfortable level.
Amniocentesis is a procedure that involves the removal of amniotic fluid from the uterus for testing or treatment. This test may be performed for several reasons, including genetic testing, fetal lung testing, diagnosis of fetal infection, treatment for excess amniotic fluid, or paternity testing. Amniocentesis does have risks, so your doctor will determine whether it is right for you. Preparation for amniocentesis generally involves drinking 2 (8oz) glasses of fluid (non-carbonated), which you must finish 30 minutes before the ultrasound performed at the beginning of your appointment. During the procedure, a thin needle is inserted through the abdominal wall so that a small amount of amniotic fluid can be withdrawn from the uterus.
CVS, or chorionic villus sampling, involves taking a tissue sample from the placenta. This tissue is then tested for chromosomal abnormalities or other genetic problems. CVS is usually done between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy and can be performed either transcervically (a thin, hollow tube is inserted through the vagina and cervix to reach the placenta) or transabdominally (a thin needle is inserted through the abdominal wall to reach the uterus). The tissue sample taken will be analyzed in a lab and your doctor will discuss the results with you. Preparation for CVS involves drinking 2 (8oz) glasses of non-carbonated fluid which must be finished one hour before your appointment.
1st Trimester Screening (11-13 weeks 6 days)
1st-trimester screening is a test that offers early information about a baby’s risk of developing certain chromosomal conditions. This is a combination of two tests – a blood test to measure levels of certain substances in the blood and an ultrasound to measure the space in the tissue at the back of the baby’s neck. Performing these tests early gives expectant mothers more time to make decisions about additional diagnostic tests and management of the pregnancy. Before your appointment, you should drink 2 (8oz) glasses of non-carbonated fluid. Finish drinking 30 minutes before your appointment. A full bladder is required, so do not urinate before your appointment.
1st Trimester Transvaginal Ultrasound (up to 10 weeks pregnant)
During the early stages of pregnancy, transvaginal ultrasound is more accurate than abdominal ultrasound. A small probe is inserted into the vagina to get a clear image of the baby, and it is used to check the baby’s heartbeat and the placenta. The entire test takes about 30 to 60 minutes and is safe for both you and your baby. You may feel pressure during your ultrasound, but it should not be painful. No preparation is required for a 1st-trimester transvaginal ultrasound.
Nonstress Test or Biophysical Profile
Another common prenatal test is a biophysical profile, which is used to check on a baby’s well-being in the womb. It combines a nonstress test, which involves fetal heart rate monitoring, and a fetal ultrasound. This provides a clear picture of the baby’s heart rate, breathing, movements, muscle tone, and amniotic fluid level. This test is recommended for women with higher-risk pregnancies and is usually performed after week 32 of pregnancy. A nonstress test simply involves the placement of a belt containing sensors that measure fetal heart rate over your abdomen. The score of the test will determine if any further testing is needed. No preparation is required for a biophysical profile in NJ at NJPA.
Level 2 Ultrasound in NJ (2nd Trimester Targeted Ultrasound)
A level 2 ultrasound provides a more detailed evaluation of fetal anatomy and development than a level 1 ultrasound. The baby’s entire body is checked, along with the four chambers of the heart and other organs. This ultrasound also checks the umbilical cord, amniotic fluid levels, placenta location, and fetal heart rate. Level 2 ultrasounds at NJPA are performed the same way as other ultrasounds and scheduled during the second trimester. Level 2 ultrasounds are also individualized based on each patient’s unique situation and any complications they may be at a higher risk for. Preparation for a level 2 ultrasound in NJ involves drinking 2 (8oz) glasses of fluid (non-carbonated). You should finish drinking 30 minutes prior to your ultrasound. Do not urinate before your appointment because a full bladder is required.
After 28 weeks of pregnancy
For appointments after 28 weeks of pregnancy, we will continue to monitor your pregnancy and the growth and development of your baby. You will be able to ask any questions you have, and our perinatologists will inform you if any additional tests are needed or if there are certain precautions you should take to reduce the risk of complications as you get closer to your due date. No preparation is required for these appointments.