Life Stages: Prenatal Care: Tips for Parents-to-be

Becoming a parent is a pivotal moment in the lives of many. Just the thought of having a child can evoke happiness, anxiousness and maybe even fear. It requires a lot of preparing and transitioning as life changes in a profoundly big way when welcoming a new child.

For 10 years, Dr. Gregory F. Kainz of Lehigh Valley Physician Group has been helping patients with prenatal-care services. While parents prepare, both mentally and physically, for the child’s arrival, Kainz says that there is a lot that goes into becoming a parent, including lifestyle changes before conception, prenatal care and delivery options.

For those looking to begin the journey of parenthood, it’s easy to research tips on how to prepare for the delivery as well as for life post-pregnancy. Beginning to buy the necessities, baby-proofing the house and starting a savings for the child are just a few of the common things parents-to-be will do. But Kainz reminds women that the journey to becoming a parent starts before the pregnancy even begins, and it goes beyond just materialistic changes.

“The first step is really prior to conception,” explains Kainz. “Women should maximize their health prior to trying to conceive. Things like starting an exercise program, having a healthy weight, quitting smoking and making sure any medical conditions they have are addressed prior to pregnancy. They should also start taking prenatal vitamins prior to trying to conceive.”

After a couple finds out they are expecting, the process of focusing on having a healthy, happy pregnancy starts. This includes doctor’s appointments to give proper prenatal care to the mother-to-be.

“Once they find out they are pregnant, we have them meet with one of our OB nurse liaisons, use an ultrasound to confirm their due date and meet with a provider,” says Kainz. “Most of what we do in prenatal care is education, engagement and screening. So with each visit, we hope that we continue to develop this relationship. In the final trimester, we concentrate on preparing for birth and screening for medical concerns in the pregnancy.”

After months of prenatal care, planning and anxiousness pass, then it will finally be time to welcome the newest member of your family to the world. While a vaginal birth is the intended and preferred channel of delivery, there is also cesarean section, which may have to be performed for numerous medical reasons. Regardless of the method of delivery, doctors are ready and prepared to take action, if needed.

“Having a baby should be a fun and exciting time,” says Kainz. “Many families have cultural and personal beliefs as to how they want to labor and deliver.  We promote the discussion about their preferences during their prenatal visits. Most of the time, this natural process requires little or no medical intervention. However, when there is a need to assist with this process, we are ready to intervene, guide and act to ensure a safe delivery.”
Kainz believes that a major factor in a successful pregnancy and delivery plan is to have full and open communication with the doctor, something he values.

“As an OB/GYN, a visit to see me can be joyful if you are having a baby or stressful if you are facing the need for robotic surgery,” he says. “No matter the reason that patients come see me, I believe it is important for the patient and I to form a relationship. When we form a relationship, I can help them through their condition and help them have the best possible outcome. My passion is to help patients stay healthy and live life to the fullest.”

Prenatal Care Tips for Parents-to-Be
•  Enjoy the time you have to prepare for your birth.
•  Ask questions.
•  Be engaged in making decisions, and be flexible.
•  Make sure you are comfortable with your care.
•  Take advantage of classes.
•  Develop a relationship with your doctor.