Childbirth & Pregnancy
Personalized care for you and your baby throughout pregnancy.
Whether you’re a new mom or are expecting the newest member of your family, you and your developing baby will need expert obstetrical care.
You can trust the experienced specialists at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. We have delivered thousands of babies and are experienced in all aspects of pregnancy from preconception to postpartum care.
Your prenatal visits will include education to prepare you and your partner for parenthood. We will work with you to develop a birth plan that will ensure that the birth of your child is all you want it to be.
Some of the more common tests performed during pregnancy are performed in both the first trimester and second-trimester prenatal screenings.
The first trimester screenings at our Methodist Women's Center locations may include an ultrasound test for fetal nuchal translucency (NT) as well as maternal blood testing. The blood tests measure two substances (PAPP-A and hCG) found in the blood of all pregnant women.
When nuchal translucency screening and maternal blood tests are used together during the first-trimester screening, there is a greater ability to determine if the fetus might have a birth defect, such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or trisomy 13.
If the results of these first-trimester screening tests are abnormal, genetic counseling is recommended and additional testing may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.
Blood tests, known as multiple markers, can provide information about the risk of having a baby with certain genetic disorders or birth defects. These tests are included in the second-trimester prenatal screenings. During the 15th and 20th week, a sample of your blood is taken. The multiple markers include an Alpha-fetoprotein screening that may alert you and your OB/GYN physician to twins, or signs of spina bifida, Down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities or a miscalculated due date.
Additional multiple markers measure hormones in your blood, including hCG, Estriol, and Inhibin. Abnormal results from these tests may suggest an ultrasound or amniocentesis for an accurate diagnosis. These can also be used to confirm due dates and to view the fetal spine and body parts for defects.
Multiple marker screenings are not 100 percent accurate. It is a diagnostic screening used to determine if additional testing is necessary in order to best care for you and your developing baby.
When a woman has both first and second-trimester screening tests performed, the ability of the tests to detect an abnormality is greater than using just one screening independently.
Additional tests performed during your pregnancy may include an amniocentesis, Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), fetal monitoring, a glucose tolerance test and an ultrasound.
Your Methodist Women's Center OB/GYN physician or midwife may recommend genetic testing during your pregnancy if you or your partner have a family history of genetic disorders and/or you have had a baby with a genetic abnormality.
Delivering Your Baby
After nine months of growth and changes, labor finally begins and signals the arrival of your baby. The Methodist Women's Center delivery team is ready to care for you on the day of your delivery and during your stay in the hosptial.
Delivery can be accomplished either vaginally or by Cesarean section (also called C-section). Your OB/GYN will discuess the need for either delivery method, but in both cases, your provider will monitor your vital signs (i.e. blood pressure and pulse) and your baby's heart rate. Your physician will also examine the cervical opening to determine the position of your baby's head and will continue to support you throughout the delivery process.
During a vaginal delivery, an OB/GYN physician will assist the baby's head and chin out of the vagina when it becomes visible. Once the head is out of the vagina, the physician usually rotates the fetus to the side and eases the shoulders out, followed by the rest of the body.
If the vaginal opening does not stretch enough to accommodate the baby, and there is a risk of tearing, the physician may perform an episiotomy — an incision through the vaginal wall and the perineum (the area between the thighs, extending from the anus to the vaginal opening) to help deliver the baby.
After the delivery of the baby, the mother is asked to continue pushing during the next few uterine contractions to deliver the placenta.
Serious complications are rare during labor, however, some of the common problems may include fetal meconium, abnormal fetal heart rate and abnormal position of the fetus during birth.
The normal color of the amniotic fluid is clear. Normally, a baby’s first bowel movement is passed after birth. If the amniotic fluid is greenish or brown in color, it may indicate fetal meconium which means the bowel movement occurred prior to delivery and may be associated with fetal distress.
Abnormal Fetal Heart Rate
The fetal heart rate during labor is a good sign of how a baby is handling the contractions of labor. If a baby appears to be in distress, the mother is assisted with oxygen, increased fluids or helped to change positions.
Abnormal Fetal Position
The ideal position for a baby during birth is head-down, facing the mother's back. However, it is not uncommon to find them in an abnormal position. These positions might include, but are not limited to, being positioned head-down but facing his or her mother’s front or with the face down into the mother’s pelvis. A baby may also be positioned breech, where buttocks or feet are down first in the mother’s pelvis. If the baby is in an abnormal position, this can make delivery more difficult through the birth canal.
Depending on the position, your OB/GYN may try to deliver your baby as it presents itself, attempt to turn him or her before delivery or perform a Cesarean section.