Vital Signs

  • Blood Pressure

    • Blood pressure is considered 'normal' when it falls between 90/60 and 140/90. In pregnancy, we expect a slight rise in blood pressure and are not alarmed if your blood pressure goes up a little. If your blood pressure raises significantly above your normal and stays high, it may indicate pregnancy complications or have negative effects on your health.

  • Pulse, Temperature, Respirations.

    • We may check other vitals in addition to your blood pressure. A 'normal' adult pulse is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, normal temperature is 98.6 F, and normal respiration (breaths) fall between 12-16 breaths per minute.

  • Weight Gain

    • Weight alone is not a good indicator of health;you are far better off making sure you eat good food and are physically active during pregnancy. Celebrate weight gain during pregnancy as you are taking great care of you and your baby. Contrary to popular belief, a weight gain of at least 35 pounds (no matter what your starting weight) give the best outcomes for you and your baby. Very rapid weight gain (5-10 lbs a week) or weight loss during pregnancy may indicate a complication.

 

Abdominal Exam

  • Fundal Height

    • The fundus, or top of the uterus, grows as your baby grows and will usually measure within 2 cm of your weeks gestation. At 20 weeks, most people's fundus measures at 20 cm, 30 weeks 30 cm and so on. Fundal height often drops as baby drops into the pelvis towards the end of pregnancy.

  • Abdominal Palpation

    • Your midwife will feel your abdomen to check baby's position. Although we may begin checking position early in pregnancy, babies may change their positions right up into labor. Most babies are head down by about 36 weeks. Midwives also use their hands to check baby's size and your fluid levels.

  • Fetal Heart Tones

    • Using a special stethoscope called a fetoscope or using a hand held Doppler, your midwife will listen to your baby's heart rate as it is one of our best outside measurements of baby's well-being. A 'normal' fetal heart rate will fall between 120-160 beats per minute, will be regular in rhythm, and will change in rate as pregnancy progresses or with baby's activity.

 

Lab Work

  • Urinalysis

    • At each visit, we will ask you to test your urine using a urine dipstick. This test indicates levels of protein, ketones, luekocytes, glucose, nitrites, PH, and specific gravity of the urine. The reliability of urinalysis as a screening tool as being questioned, so results are always interpreted with caution and followed up with further testing. ​

  • Other bloodwork, urine screens or genital cultures may be done at your visits or we may send you to the lab for testing. Please see this link for the common laboratory tests offered during pregnancy. 

Prenatal Appointments

 

We provide comprehensive, respectful, individualized prenatal care in an atmosphere of informed choice. Care includes any of the following as needed or wanted: free pregnancy testing, complete medical history evaluation, risk assessment, harm reduction counseling, safety planning, nutrition counseling, physical exams, full range of prenatal laboratory work and  regular prenatal visits with prenatal clinical supervision, personalized birth plans, childbirth education, and referrals.

 

When you have a prenatal visit with us, we always schedule one hour so that you can have time to ask questions, discuss your birth plans, as well as any concerns you may have. There are a few routine procedures we offer you. These are some of the 'clinical' parts of our care which take about 10-20 minutes of your visit.