Quick Guide for Our Maternity Patients
Pregnancy is a special time for moms-to-be and their partners, and we’re grateful that you’ve chosen The Woman’s Health Pavilion to guide you on this journey. We created this simple guide for you to use as a reference for the duration of your pregnancy and the first few months after birth. Feel free to print the guide and read it offline.
Please take some time in early pregnancy to read through this information, so that you’ll be best prepared for the months to come.
Our Team Approach
Our team approach to prenatal care is an important element in your care. Over the course of your pregnancy, you will have visits with the same physicians who deliver our patients’ babies. Because our delivering physicians are often attending to patients in the hospital, you will also have some visits with physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwives of the obstetrical team. Each member of the team brings her/his own training and experience to the equation, ensuring that you get comprehensive care.
Our physicians share the responsibility of on-call services, so we usually don’t know which doctor will attend to each delivery. For this reason, we encourage you to meet all of our delivering physicians. Although not required, meeting all the physicians does give many mothers comfort and reassurance.
Other Team Members
When We Will See You
For a routine pregnancy without complications, the schedule for prenatal checkups is as follows:
- Weeks 4 to 28: every 4 to 5 weeks
- Weeks 29 to 36: every 2 to 3 weeks
- Weeks 37 and beyond: every week
There are many conditions that will require more frequent visits. Rest assured—we will keep you informed about what’s appropriate for your pregnancy.
Visit our Prenatal Care page for details.
Do’s and Don’ts While Expecting
Your habits and lifestyle can affect both your health and your baby’s health during pregnancy. Important do’s and don’ts include:
While Expecting, DO:
- Keep all of your prenatal appointments. It’s the best way to see that you and your baby are healthy and to address any issues as soon as they arise.
- Eat right. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein will support your baby’s development and make you feel your best. Prenatal vitamins, which include folic acid, iron, and calcium, are important to take throughout your pregnancy as well.
- Drink plenty of fluids—water is best. Your body needs more water now to support you and your baby.
- Get plenty of sleep. Aim for 7 to 9 hours a night.
- Exercise regularly. During pregnancy, healthy women should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Let us help you create a workout plan that’s right for you.
- Talk with us about medications and supplements. We can help you understand what is and isn’t safe for you and your growing baby. We’ve even compiled a list of over-the-counter medications that are safe to use in pregnancy. View/download pdf.
- Watch your weight. Most women gain more weight than necessary during pregnancy, and then struggle to take off their “baby weight” after delivery. While you are “eating for two,” you shouldn’t be eating twice as much!
- Protect yourself and your baby from Zika. Since there’s no vaccination or cure, avoid travel to an area with a risk of acquiring the Zika virus. Do not have unprotected sex with a partner who has lived in or traveled to a high-risk area. For for more information including an up-to-date list of areas where Zika is prevalent, visit the Zika and Pregnancy website by the CDC.
- Always wear your seatbelt and avoid texting while you drive. Road safety doesn’t take a holiday when you’re pregnant. Do the right thing for you and your baby.
While Expecting, DO NOT
- Do not smoke (tobacco, marijuana, vaping), drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. There is no “safe” amount of any of these substances in pregnancy. Please be candid with us about your habits, so we can work with you to develop a safe plan during pregnancy.
- Steer clear of toxic substances. Fumes from paint, cleaning products, and certain insecticides can be harmful to your growing baby. If you must use these chemicals, work in a well-ventilated area and wash your hands after use.
- Avoid foods that can be harmful to your baby. While fish is a healthy source of protein during pregnancy, certain types of fish can be high in mercury (like swordfish, shark, tilefish, tuna steaks, and king mackerel). See our Fish Facts handout for details about fish consumption in pregnancy. Deli meat, soft cheeses (brie, feta, queso fresco), raw sprouts, kippered fish can expose you to listeria; raw/undercooked eggs have a risk of salmonella. See Food Don’ts for more information.
- Stay away from the poop. Don’t clean the cat box; cat feces can expose you to a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which is dangerous to fetuses. In general, you should stay away from animal droppings and nests.
- Avoid x-rays. Medically necessary x-rays are usually not a problem in pregnancy, but you should be sure to tell the dentist or radiologist that you are pregnant; special shielding is sometimes used to protect your baby. Unnecessary x-rays should be avoided.
- Stay out of hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas. An increase in your core body temperature during the first trimester may contribute to birth defects. Later in pregnancy, spending time in a sauna or hot tub may lead to low blood pressure and fainting.
- Hold off on that new tattoo, piercing, and BOTOX or dermal filler injections. With these elective cosmetic procedures, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To-Do’s While You’re Expecting
There’s a lot to take care of before your baby arrives. Use the following checklist to make sure you’re ready for delivery day.
Getting Ready for Delivery
Modern prenatal care involves a lot of testing, which usually starts with a complete prenatal bloodwork panel in early pregnancy. Along the way, additional testing including sonograms, genetic screening, screening for gestational diabetes, vaginal cultures, and other recommended testing. For an overview of recommended testing, see our Prenatal Care page.
Certain vaccinations are recommended in pregnancy, including vaccination against influenza (during flu season) and vaccination against pertussis (whooping cough). We will guide you with specific recommendations for you during pregnancy.
- Childbirth Classes
For first-time moms, we strongly recommend childbirth classes. Our childbirth instructors will review signs of labor, normal labor progress, options for pain relief, and breastfeeding/baby care basics. We offer weekend classes right in the office. For information or to register, visit our Childbirth Class page.
- Pack a Bag
Pack a hospital bag for labor and after delivery. We’ve compiled a useful list of what to bring.
Download and fill out the hospital’s maternity pre-admission form and a birth certificate form and put these in your hospital bag for delivery day.
- Cord Blood
At childbirth, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collect your baby’s cord blood cells, which could be lifesaving if your baby develops serious conditions. For more information, see our cord blood handout or reach out to our Cord Blood Coordinator Michelle Mesbah at 516.987.9216 firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s important to register for cord blood collection by 24 weeks, so you should start thinking about this in the first trimester.
- Car Seat
Purchase a car seat and make sure it’s installed correctly. Learn more.
When to Call Us
Not sure if it’s cause for a call? Here are some common concerns during pregnancy and information to help you assess your situation.
I haven’t felt my baby moving.
Most women feel fetal movement regularly after about 20 weeks. If your baby seems less active than usual, you can count kicks to make sure everything is ok. If you’ve followed instructions and still haven’t felt at least 6 movements per hour, you should call us.
My water broke.
Whether you’re feeling a slow leak or a gush of fluid, you should call us right away. Pay attention to whether the fluid is clear or colored. We usually recommend an in-person evaluation if we suspect that your membranes have ruptured.
In early labor, light bleeding (lighter than a period, and often mixed with mucous) is expected. If you’re comfortable and the bleeding is not excessive, you can wait for strong contractions before making your way to the hospital. If labor is not expected (e.g., in early pregnancy), bleeding is not normal in pregnancy. You should call us or schedule an appointment if you notice bleeding.
I think I’m in labor
For full-term pregnancies (within 3 weeks of the due date) without complications, we encourage women to remain at home in early labor.
Women often have many episodes of “false labor” before true labor is established. True labor is characterized by:
- Contractions coming 3 to 5 minutes apart or closer
- Contractions that last for at least 60 seconds
- Contractions so strong you cannot comfortably speak or walk during them
Once you are having strong, regular contractions, you should call us and prepare to make your way to the hospital.
If you are feeling regular contractions and still more than 3 weeks from your due date, you should call us. We’ll want to make sure you’re not having preterm labor.
The mucus plug came out.
If you see brown, sticky mucus in small clumps or one large clump, it’s a sign that your cervix is beginning to dilate. If you’re at least 37 weeks along, you can wait for strong, regular contractions before calling us; this may take a few hours or a few days.
If you think you’ve passed your mucus plug and your due date is still more than 3 weeks away, you should call us to rule out preterm labor.
When in doubt about whether your symptoms are serious, feel free to call us. Most women are somewhat anxious about labor and delivery. If you have questions or concerns and are wondering whether you should call us, you probably should.
Important Phone Numbers
Day or night, the best way to reach us is by calling the office you regularly attend for prenatal visits. For your convenience, our office numbers appear below.
- Howard Beach: (718) 843-6300
- Westbury: (516) 333-1444
- Forest Hills: 718) 263-1963
- Levittown: (516) 731-9000
Always contact us before leaving for the hospital.
For questions pertaining to insurance, payment, or accounts receivable, contact our billing office directly at (516) 997-9205.
Katz Women’s Hospital
May We Help You?
Would you like to find out more about our treatments and services? Are you looking for a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment recommendation you received at another practice? The experienced team at The Woman’s Health Pavilion is happy to help. Just let us know how and when you’d like to hear from us.