Q&A on All Things Pregnancy with Women's Care Florida

December 27, 2018

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MOABS had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Hammer, APRN from Women's Care Florida. Women's Care Florida is the premier provider of women's health care in Florida. We learned so much about what to expect during pregnancy. You might be surprised by some of Lauren's answers (we were!) and you'll want to be sure to check out their website for more tips!


1. What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?


  • unpasteurized cheese or milk
  • all alcoholic beverages
  • raw foods and fish like sushi
  • fish with high levels of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish


  • other fish like canned light tuna or tuna steak to 1 – 2 servings per week
  • sweets and sugary drinks

In addition, try not to exceed 300 extra calories and 200 mg caffeine per day.


2. What signs should I look for to tell me I’m REALLY in labor?

  • Contractions that become regular, consistent and last longer and stronger over time and that don’t ease up with position change or hydration. The typical rule is consistent contractions every 5 minutes that last one minute over the period of one hour.
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid. This could be a gush or a trickle.
  • Bloody show—the passing of mucus tinged with blood—along with regular contractions


3. If I have a high-risk pregnancy, how will my appointments be different?

  • You’re considered high risk if you are of advanced maternal age or have diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, multiple gestation or a history of preterm birth. You can expect more frequent visits with your primary ob-gyn provider and may also need to see a perinatologist or maternal fetal medicine specialist who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. In addition, expect 1 – 2 appointments each week during the last 4 – 6 weeks of pregnancy, with fetal testing, monitoring and ultrasounds at each visit.


4. How often will I be able to “see” the baby via sonogram?

  • Expect an ultrasound around 6 – 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 20 weeks, and as needed thereafter.


5. What much weight is normal for an expectant mom to gain during pregnancy?

  • Weight gain recommendations depend on your prepregnant weight and body mass index (BMI). If you’re of average weight and healthy BMI, gain 25 – 35 pounds. If you’re overweight, gain 11 – 20 pounds. If you’re underweight, try to gain a little more than average.  


6. How much does the baby grow from month to month?

  • By the end of the first trimester (12 – 14 weeks), the baby will be 2 1/2 inches long, weigh 1/3 to 1/2 ounces, and be about the size of a passionfruit.
  • By the end of the second trimester (27 – 28 weeks), the baby will be 14 3/4 inches long, weigh 2 1/4 pounds, and as about the size of a green squash.
  • By term (37 weeks), the baby will be about 19 inches long and weigh 6 pounds or more.


7. When does the baby start kicking, and how many kicks should the baby make as he/she grows?

  • The baby kicks long before you’ll detect movement. You may feel flutters as early as 17 weeks or as late as 24 weeks. At term, you should easily detect 10 fetal movements in an hour. If you feel less movement, call your provider right away.


8. When do I find out the baby’s sex?

  • Most parents find out during an ultrasound at 18 – 20 weeks, although some providers offer a gender ultrasound at approximately 16 weeks. The baby's sex also can be determined during certain genetic tests and screens.


9. What genetic testing is available after I find out I’m pregnant? When does that take place?

  • Genetic testing includes blood tests for certain disease traits the mother and father may pass on to the baby, as well as genetic screening and testing for abnormal chromosomes of the baby. Carrier testing determines the risk of a baby inheriting a genetic disorder like cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, fragile-X syndrome and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Testing is performed through blood or saliva samples, and if the mother tests positive for one of these genetic traits or conditions, the father is offered testing. Although preconception testing is preferred, carrier testing can be done at any time.
  • There are two screenings that are not diagnostic.
  1. Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (Cell-Free Fetal DNA (cfFDNA))—tests for chromosome disorders, such as Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 18 and 13. Triploidy and Fetal Sex may also be an option. These blood tests are offered as early as 10 weeks’ gestation to mothers at high risk for these chromosome abnormalities, but they may soon be offered to mothers who are low-risk.
  2. Sequential Screening—tests for chromosome disorders such as Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 18 and 13. This involves an ultrasound and maternal blood test at 12 weeks and a second blood test at 16 weeks. Sequential Screening is only a screening; it is not diagnostic.

Diagnostic testing can be offered if the screening test for chromosome abnormalities shows a high-risk for a chromosome disorder. An amniocentesis (testing of an amniotic fluid sample), or Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) (a sample of the chorionic villus from the placenta) can be offered early in the pregnancy.


10. How can I ensure I’m prepared for the physical aspect of delivery?

  • Exercise and eat clean! Make sure you gain the appropriate amount of weight for your prepregnant BMI and strive for 30 minutes of daily exercise throughout your pregnancy. The intensity depends on the types of exercise you participated in prior to pregnancy. Use caution with activities that involve a high risk of falling or that may injure the abdomen, such as horseback riding or racquet sports. It is important to stop exercising when you’re tired—don't push it to exhaustion—And stay hydrated.


11. What are the most important items for me to bring to the hospital on my delivery day?

  • I usually recommend packing two bags, a smaller one for labor and delivery, and a larger one for your stay in the hospital.
    • Labor and delivery:
      • ID/health insurance card
      • Comfort measures in labor: water bottle, massage tools/lavender oil, hair tie, lip balm, suckers
      • Camera
      • Baby book
      • Robe, slippers, socks
      • Magazines
      • Glasses, extra contacts, case and solution
      • Cell phone and charger
      • Snacks and change of clothes for father/significant other
      • Positive attitude
    • Hospital:
      • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
      • Nightgown, nursing bra, mother's going-home outfit
      • Nursing pillow, bed pillow
      • Baby's going home outfit, onesies, gowns
      • Baby hat, booties/socks, receiving blanket
      • Sibling essentials: crayons, markers, coloring books, toys, snack