Posts Tagged ‘health care provider’

Prevent to protect: talk to your health care provider

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Pregnant woman talking with doctorJanuary is Birth Defects Prevention month. In the United States, a baby is born with a birth defect every 4 ½ minutes. Some infections before and during pregnancy can have serious consequences, including causing certain birth defects. Talking to your health care provider is an important way that you can help prevent infections and protect you and your baby.

During your preconception checkup or your first prenatal visit, talk to your health care provider about:

How to prevent infections

  • Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially when preparing food or caring for young children.
  • Take precautions to protect yourself from animals known to carry diseases and insects that may carry infections, such as Zika.
  • Stay away from wild or pet rodents, live poultry, lizards, and turtles.
  • Do not clean a cat litter box during pregnancy.
  • Avoid travel to Zika-affected areas. Be sure to discuss any travel plans with your provider.
  • When mosquitoes are active, prevent mosquito bites using an EPA-registered bug spray containing one of these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535. Wear appropriate clothing (hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes, & socks).
  • Don’t have sex with a male or female partner who may be infected with Zika virus or who has recently travelled to a Zika-affected area.

Vaccinations before pregnancy

It’s best to be up to date on all your routine adult vaccinations before you get pregnant. These vaccinations are recommended before pregnancy:

  • Flu. Get the flu vaccine once a year before flu season (October through May). There are many different flu viruses, and they’re always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four flu viruses that are likely to make people sick during the upcoming flu season.
  • HPV (human papillomavirus). This vaccine protects against the infection that causes genital warts. The infection also may lead to cervical cancer. The CDC recommends that women up to age 26 get the HPV vaccine.
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). This vaccine protects you against measles, mumps and rubella (also called German measles). Measles during pregnancy can cause miscarriage. Rubella can cause serious problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects.
  • Varicella. This vaccine protects you from chickenpox, an infection that spreads easily and causes itchy skin, rash and fever. During pregnancy, it can be dangerous for a baby and cause birth defects. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant and haven’t had chickenpox or been vaccinated for it, tell your provider.

Vaccinations during pregnancy

The CDC recommends two vaccinations during pregnancy:

  • Flu shot if you weren’t vaccinated before pregnancy. You can get a flu shot at any time during pregnancy.
  • Pertussis vaccine (Tdap) at 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Pertussis (also called whooping cough) is an extremely contagious disease that causes violent coughing and is dangerous for a baby. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy, to protect their baby.

Remember, preventing infections before and during pregnancy can help to keep you and your baby safe. Speaking with your healthcare provider can help you become as healthy as possible before and during pregnancy.

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Who will delivery your baby?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

baby arrivesGetting early and regular prenatal care is very important for having a healthy pregnancy and baby. The first step in getting prenatal care is to choose your prenatal care provider. This is the medical professional who will care for you during your pregnancy. You have options, so think about it. Will one make you feel more comfortable or confident?

You can choose either a doctor (physician) or midwife to take care of you during your pregnancy and to deliver your baby.
• An obstetrician (OB) is a doctor who specializes in the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth and recuperation from delivery. About 8 in 10 pregnant women choose obstetricians.
• A family practice doctor is a doctor with training in all aspects of health care for every member of the family. A family practice doctor can be your health care provider before, during and after your pregnancy, and your baby’s doctor, too.
• A certified nurse-midwife is a registered nurse with advanced, specialized training and experience in taking care of pregnant women and delivering babies. Certified nurse-midwives are licensed to provide care before, during and after delivery.
• A maternal-fetal medicine specialist is an obstetrician with special training in the care of women who have high-risk pregnancies. If you have risk factors that could complicate your pregnancy, your prenatal care provider may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

It’s important to choose a health care provider who makes you feel comfortable and listens to you. Click on this link for a list of questions to consider when making this decision.

Finding a pediatrician for your preemie

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

baby_doctorFinding a pediatrician to care for your baby after he leaves the NICU can seem like a daunting task.  Your baby has been cared for by experts in the field of neonatology.  Finding someone who you feel has the same expertise can be difficult. 

Pediatricians specialize in caring for children from infancy through adolescence.  The most important thing when you choose a pediatrician is finding someone with whom you feel comfortable. You may need to call the practice in the middle of the night with a question so you want to feel confident that the person on the other end of the phone can address your concerns.  You may also want to take logistics into account.  Babies—preemies and full-term newborns–go to the pediatrician a lot during their first year.  Vaccines, weight checks, well-child care, never mind the occasional ear infection, fever, or cold all typically end up in a visit to the doctor.  Remember that when choosing a provider.  Driving an hour when all is well may not seem like a big deal, but making that drive with a baby crying inconsolably because he doesn’t feel well will be much more stressful.  Someone local may also be able to help with things such as preschool recommendations, dentists and other community resources.

If you are trying to find someone, there are a few places to start.  First, ask the neonatologist and NICU team for some suggestions.  They will be familiar with the pediatricians who practice in or near the hospital and may be able to give you some guidance.  Also, if there is a preemie support group, talk to the other parents.  Parents usually have definite opinions about pediatricians so they will be honest and give you great information.  And of course, make sure you check with your insurance company to make sure they cover the doctor you choose.

Once you narrow down your choices, make sure you visit the offices, talk to the doctors, and learn about how the practice is run.  Some things that may be especially important are to understand how after-hours calls are handled and waiting room policies for sick children.  Also, if your baby has special health care needs, make sure that the physician understands those needs and that the practice has the expertise to handle them. 

You may have chosen a pediatrician before your baby was born and you may feel completely comfortable staying with that doctor.  But after the NICU some parents may feel that their needs have changed.  If that is the case, it is OK to find someone who you think may fit your new situation better.  You will be working with your pediatrician for a long time, so you want to make sure that you feel good about your choice and that you have a good relationship.