Prenatal Care

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Obstetricians at UT Southwestern Medical Center provide comprehensive prenatal care, which includes prenatal testing, monitoring, and management for any health issues that arise. Our skilled physicians and their teams are dedicated to compassionate care to help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Advanced Prenatal Care for Pregnancy Management

Prenatal care is health care for women and their unborn babies during pregnancy. Early, regular prenatal care helps prevent health problems or identify them as early as possible.

At UT Southwestern, we recommend that women schedule their first prenatal appointment as soon as they think they are pregnant. We also offer preconception counseling to help women prepare to become pregnant.

Our experienced obstetricians, maternity nurses, and other care providers have years of experience in prenatal care to keep mothers and their babies healthy during pregnancy and childbirth. For women with high-risk pregnancies, we offer specialized maternal-fetal medicine services to manage chronic conditions or problems that develop during pregnancy. At UTSW, maternal-fetal care is an integral part of prenatal care: for example, our obstetricians share medical records and are located in the same facilities as our maternal-fetal medicine specialists, which ensures easy communication.

Prenatal Care Services

Our experienced obstetricians provide high-quality care for pregnant women and their babies. Our prenatal services include:

  • Primary care, such as vaccinations and other services to prevent and treat illnesses and infections during pregnancy
  • Support with healthy lifestyle habits, such as a nutritious diet, regular exercise, appropriate weight, prenatal supplements, and avoidance of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs
  • Maternal-fetal medicine for women with high-risk pregnancies due to medical conditions or certain risk factors
  • Prenatal genetic counseling and testing for women and their partners who have an abnormal screening or family history of genetic disorders
  • Free prenatal classes on labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and baby care
  • Hospital tours to help prospective parents get familiar with our labor and delivery and postpartum units

Prenatal Evaluation of Urologic Conditions

UT Southwestern Pediatric Group has the only multidisciplinary center in the region that offers prenatal and neonatal urologic care. We offer treatment and counseling for every congenital urologic disorder, from the common to the rare — including hydronephrosis, ectopic ureter, ureterocele, spina bifida, bladder exstrophy, posterior urethral valves, cloacal malformations, cystic kidneys, and dysplastic kidneys.

Learn more about our Pediatric Urology Program.

What to Expect

At the first visit, we confirm the pregnancy, typically with ultrasound or pregnancy testing. We provide patients with information about what to expect during pregnancy.

The patient is then scheduled for an obstetrics appointment, which includes:

  • A complete physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests

Depending on each woman’s health needs, we might do other examinations, such as:

  • Breast exam
  • Pelvic exam to evaluate the uterus

Our doctors will ask questions about the patient’s: 

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Use of birth control
  • Previous pregnancies
  • Personal and family medical history
  • Current medications
  • Lifestyle, relationship, and health habits

Using the exam results, date of the woman’s last menstrual period, and ultrasound imaging, the doctor calculates the baby’s due date. Although few women give birth on the actual due date, this information helps determine how old the baby is and monitor the baby’s growth.

Later Prenatal Visits

During most prenatal visits, we check:

  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Baby’s heart rate
  • Measurement of the uterus to follow growth of the baby

Other tests that women might need include:

  • Ultrasound imaging to see how well the baby is growing
  • Fetal echocardiography to evaluate the baby’s heart
  • Blood tests to determine the mother’s blood type
  • Amniocentesis to check for genetic disorders or birth defects
  • Tests to check for sexually transmitted infections
  • Screening for gestational diabetes

We provide medical management for pregnancy-related problems such as:

  • Excessive nausea and vomiting
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin problems
  • Asthma

In the last weeks of pregnancy, our physicians speak with each patient about their options for pain relief during labor and help coordinate a delivery plan.