Prenatal Care

Prenatal Care

Compassionate Care For Your Pregnancy and Delivery

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Pregnancy may be one of the most joyful times of your life. Duke obstetricians and OB specialists provide prenatal care to women who deliver their babies at Duke University Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital. If you choose Duke Women's Health Heritage in Wake Forest, you can deliver your baby at WakeMed North Family Health & Women's Hospital.

Our goal is to keep you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy and to prepare you for a safe delivery with minimal medical intervention. 

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Before Your Pregnancy

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, a preconception appointment will give our obstetricians the opportunity to review your medical history and address any potential concerns, such as medical conditions you have, or medications you take that can be harmful to a developing fetus. We also can address behaviors that could be harmful to your baby, such as smoking or alcohol use.

If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, our obstetricians can identify medical issues that can prevent conception. If the problem is more complex, we can refer you to the Duke Fertility Center to pinpoint the cause of infertility and offer appropriate treatment options. 

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Your Prenatal Care

Your OB Appointments
Many women use a home pregnancy test to learn they are pregnant four to six weeks after conception. Your first OB appointment should coincide with the eighth week of your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is without complications, you will see one of our obstetricians or nurse practitioners monthly until the 28th week. During weeks 28 to 35, you’ll be seen every two weeks. You’ll be seen every week from 36 weeks until delivery. At each visit, our obstetricians will monitor your baby’s growth and your overall health.

Why You Should See Each of the OBs at the Clinic You Choose
During your pregnancy, we recommend that you see each of our obstetricians because they perform deliveries at the hospital on a rotating basis. We want to make sure you’ve gotten to know all of our doctors before you go into labor.

If Your Pregnancy Is Determined to Be High-Risk
The perinatologists at Duke University Hospital will be involved in your ongoing care through your delivery. This may be the case if you are carrying multiples, have a history of pregnancy complications (miscarriage, preterm delivery, or cervical incompetence), or have a preexisting medical condition, such as heart disease, lupus, or a seizure disorder.

CenteringPregnancy® Program
The CenteringPregnancy® program replaces routine individual visits with group visits of eight to 12 pregnant women who are due at about the same time. The two-hour visits include a one-on-one assessment with the provider plus group sharing and discussions. Group sessions include a facilitated discussion of pregnancy, birth, and newborn care as well as overall health, stress management, and more.

Attend a Childbirth Class, Tour the Birthing Centers
This will help you prepare for childbirth and learn what to expect afterward. You also are welcome to tour the labor and delivery units at both hospitals.

Postpartum Checkup
We will also see you six weeks after delivery for a post-partum checkup.

Prenatal Testing

Pregnancy care is important for monitoring your and your baby’s health. Tests you may have during pregnancy include:

Ultrasound

Sound waves are used to produce pictures of your baby. Ultrasound is often performed during your first clinic visit to check the viability of the pregnancy and estimate your due date. A second routine ultrasound is performed between 17 and 20 weeks to monitor the baby’s progress and possibly find out your baby’s gender. We also offer 3-D ultrasound when needed.

First Trimester Screening

Determines the risk for certain birth defects such as Down syndrome and Trisomy 18. Involves maternal blood tests and an ultrasound. Takes place between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Tests for cystic fibrosis. Your doctor removes a small piece of tissue from the placenta to be tested for birth defects and genetic conditions. Can be done between weeks 10 and 12 of pregnancy.

Amniocentesis

Offered when the baby is suspected of having a genetic abnormality. A sample of amniotic fluid is drawn from the placenta using an ultrasound-guided needle inserted through the abdomen. Performed between weeks 14 and 20 of pregnancy.

AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein)/Tetra Screen

Your blood will be drawn and tested for certain proteins that may indicate Down syndrome or neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Performed between weeks 15 and 19 of pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes Screening

Screens for diabetes during pregnancy. Involves drinking a sugary liquid, followed by a blood draw about an hour later. Performed around 28 weeks.

Genetic Screening

Duke’s genetic counselors offer all aspects of genetic screening, as necessary, to determine your baby’s risk factors for fetal diseases and chromosomal abnormalities.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

In addition to being one of the best in the country, Duke University Hospital is proud to be nationally ranked in 11 adult and nine pediatric specialties.

Choosing a Hospital For Your Delivery

Where you choose to deliver your baby will determine which group of OB specialists you see during your pregnancy. Whether you choose to have your baby at Duke University Hospital’s Birthing Center or at Duke Regional Hospital, you will receive care in a comfortable, caring environment.

If you choose Duke Women's Health Heritage in Wake Forest for your pregnancy care, you can deliver your baby at WakeMed North Family Health & Women's Hospital.

Duke University Hospital

Duke University Hospital’s Birthing Center is a regional referral center. It offers immediate access to our board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists, as well as obstetric-trained anesthesiologists and nurses. Our team is prepared day and night to handle normal deliveries and emergency situations. Our labor and delivery suites feature LDR Rooms (labor-delivery-recovery) in which you give birth and recover. The Duke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Level IV nursery provides complete neonatology care for premature and sick newborns. 

Duke Regional Hospital

Duke Regional Hospital is a community hospital primarily for women who expect to have routine deliveries. You can choose to work with a certified nurse midwife for your prenatal care and assistance in your normal labor and birth. We work closely with you to minimize interventions and offer nonmedical amenities to help manage labor pain. We offer a special care nursery where preterm babies, or full-term babies who need extra help, receive tender care from expert neonatologists. If you or your baby have complications, our relationship with Duke University Hospital gives you immediate access to the specialized care you need.