Pregnancy is one of the most exhilarating times — and one of the most important medical events — of your life. But whether you’re expecting your first child or your fourth, you want nothing less than excellent care with an experienced OB/GYN. Dr. Zerline Chambers-Kersey is committed to providing personalized, family-centered care, helping her patients in each stage of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and through the postpartum period. She serves moms-to-be in the Prince William County area from her practice in Dumfries, Virginia. Call or book your appointment online today.
A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, beginning at the first day of your last regular menstrual cycle. It’s separated into three trimesters that correspond to the general stages of fetal development.
During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, important hormonal changes influence nearly every system of your body. These changes are responsible for both stopping your menstrual cycle and causing a variety of early symptoms, including:
From weeks 13-28 of your pregnancy, your initial symptoms may disappear. As your baby grows bigger, you may start to experience lower back pain, swelling, and other symptoms related to weight gain and blood volume increase.
From week 29 until you deliver, your baby continues to grow larger every day, leaving less room for your lungs, bladder, and other internal organs. Many women experience shortness of breath and the urge to urinate throughout the third trimester.
Prenatal care usually begins with a positive pregnancy test. To confirm your pregnancy and establish a due date, Dr. Chambers-Kersey performs an extensive health exam including a pelvic exam and an ultrasound.
As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll have routine ultrasound screenings and other tests to monitor your and your baby’s progression. Routine screenings include:
Regular prenatal checkups occur once a month through the end of the second trimester, twice a month during weeks 28-36, and once weekly thereafter until delivery.
Dr. Chambers-Kersey delivers at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge.
A high-risk pregnancy may mean that you or your baby require special monitoring or care throughout your pregnancy, or it may mean that you’re more likely to have medical challenges before, during, or after delivery.
A few of the factors that qualify a pregnancy as high risk include:
To provide high-risk patients with the best possible care, Dr. Chambers-Kersey works with a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialist. MFM experts are specially trained to prevent complications for the best possible outcome.