Pregnancy and Obstetrical Library

When you're expecting a baby, it's important to have the best possible prenatal care to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a normal delivery. Complications during pregnancy can be upsetting, and if complications should occur, you'll want a physician who has the experience and expertise to deal effectively with high-risk pregnancy care. Doctors throughout the Yuma area refer their high-risk pregnancy patients to the doctors at Women's Health Specialists for their excellent care.

With over 70 years of combined OB/GYN experience, our doctors have delivered over 50,000 beautiful, healthy babies. Even if you've had a difficult pregnancy in the past, you will feel confident in our care.

For women who prefer the birthing experience provided by a midwife, we have experienced nurse midwives on staff who can help you design the delivery options you're most comfortable with.

Our obstetrical fee includes all prenatal visits, the PEP (Prenatal Education Program) session, your delivery, and the six-week postpartum follow-up. Certain special procedures, such as genetic counseling, amniocentesis, additional ultrasounds and fetal monitoring may generate separate fees. Blood and urine tests may also be charged separately. Many patients qualify for special programs to help cover these costs. Our staff can assist you with identifying and enrolling in a program that is right for you.


Pregnancy and Oral Health
Remedies for Morning Sickness
What To Pack in Your Labor Bag
Signs of Pregnancy
Length of Pregnancy
Traveling While Pregnant
Sex During Pregnancy
Over the counter medications for use in pregnancy
Shaken Baby Syndrome



Pregnancy and Oral Health

Some people believe that a tooth is lost for every pregnancy. This is a myth.

During pregnancy, there is an extra special need for good oral hygiene because pregnancy may exaggerate some dental disorders. Good oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily. Whenever possible, brush after each meal.
  • Floss thoroughly every day.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning, preferably during your 2nd trimester.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby.
  • Watch out for sugary snacks. Sugars and starches are the favorite food of bad oral bacteria. Each time you eat these, acid attacks your teeth for at least 20 minutes. Constant acid attacks and unremoved plaque cause cavities and gingivitis and possibly more serious periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Tell your dentist and dental hygienist that you are pregnant. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have with them.
  • Remember you are your children's role model and your baby's dental health is just beginning. Discuss with your dentist good dental practices for children, including pacifiers, teething, fluoride, oral hygiene care, primary and permanent teeth, and the first dental visit.




Remedies for Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting many times occur during the early months of pregnancy. Although it's frequently referred to as morning sickness, it can occur any time of the day or night. Usually it disappears after about the third month. Morning sickness is actually the result of the influence of increased amounts of estrogen and progesterone that are produced by the ovaries early in pregnancy. Because of the increasing levels of these hormones, the cells in the stomach increase their production of gastric juices. But at the same time, the bowel slows down in its ability to empty the contents of the stomach. This then causes a feeling of nausea, and in some cases vomiting.

To prevent morning sickness, try the following suggestions until you find one that works for you:

  • Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning (put them close to your bed the night before) or when you fell nauseated.
  • Get out of bed slowly and avoid sudden movements.
  • Have some yogurt, cottage cheese, juices, or milk before you go to bed, or before you get. Or try one of these if you have to get up during the night.
  • Eat several small meals during the day so your stomach doesn't remain empty for long.
  • Eat high-protein food such as eggs, cheese, nuts, meats, peanut butter, etc. as well as fruits and fruit juices. These foods help prevent low levels of sugar in your blood, which can also cause nausea.
  • Drink soup and other liquids between meals instead of with meals.
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods. They're hard to digest.
  • Avoid spicy, heavily seasoned foods.
  • Wear loose clothing.

Remedies for Morning Sickness

  • Sip soda water (carbonated water) when you begin to feel nauseated.
  • Get fresh air, take a walk, sleep with a window open, use a fan, or open a window.
  • Take deep breathes.
  • Drink spearmint, raspberry leaf or peppermint tea.
  • Ginger tea, ale, etc.
  • Take a 1/2 tab of Unisom (Doxylamine only) with vitamin B6 50 mg twice daily as needed.




What To Pack in Your Labor Bag:

For Mom

  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Nursing Bra
  • Toiletries: Make-up, shampoo, conditioner, razor, brush, soap, hair scrunchie, deodorant, lotion, hair dyer and curling iron.
  • Pillow
  • Address book with phone numbers
  • Hard candy
  • Cell phone/calling cards for long distance
  • Baby book
  • Lip moisturizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Loose fitting clothing to go home
  • Medication list
  • Book, card game, thank you cards, etc. something to pass time 

For Dad

  • Camera
  • Video camera
  • Money for food or vending machine
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • A change of clothes
  • Snacks
  • Something to read

For Baby

  • 2-3 outfits (Different sizes and coordinate for weather)
  • Hat
  • Booties/socks
  • Burp rag
  • Receiving blanket
  • Pacifier
  • Car seat

Leave at Home:

  • Valuables such as jewelry
  • Large amounts of cash




Signs of Pregnancy

Your first sign of pregnancy probably was missing your menstrual period. Along with a late period, you may have had one or more of these other early signs of pregnancy:

  • Spotting or having a very light menstrual period.
  • Feeling nauseated or queasy
  • Have tender or swollen breasts
  • Feeling very tired
  • Urinating frequently
  • Being moody
  • Feeling bloated

These are normal in pregnancy. You may not have all of them, but you will most likely have at least one. Some signs are not normal, though. Call your provider right away if you have any of the symptoms listed in the box. These could be signs of early pregnancy loss or ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs outside the uterus and could be a medical emergency.


Warning signs of early pregnancy loss or ectopic pregnancy

Get medical help right away if you are pregnant, or think you might be, and have any of these symptoms:

  • Cramps or severe abdominal pain
  • Spotting that lasts more than one day
  • Bleeding
  • Faintness or dizziness


Length of Pregnancy

A "typical" pregnancy lasts for 280 days, or 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the last menstrual period. A normal pregnancy can last anywhere from 37-42 weeks. Since most women ovulate 2 weeks after their period begins, the actual pregnancy is 2 weeks less.

It is useful to talk about the length of pregnancy using the number of weeks rather than the number of months. The average pregnancy of 40 weeks is divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts about 13-14 weeks (or about 3 months):

  • 1st trimester: 0-13 weeks
  • 2nd trimester: 14-28 weeks
  • 3rd trimester: 29-40 weeks




Traveling While Pregnant

In most cases travel is not ruled out during pregnancy. If you are planning a trip, it's a good idea to check with your doctor about safety measures to take during travel. Most women can travel safely until close to their due dates. If travel poses a risk, it is wise to change plans.

The best time to travel is mid-pregnancy (14-28 weeks of pregnancy). After 28 weeks, it's often harder to move around or sit for a long time.

Air travel. Flying in airplane is almost always safe during pregnancy. Most airlines allow pregnant women to fly until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. For air travel, check with the airline about any rules it may have for pregnant women.

Commercial planes are pressurized. That makes sure there is enough oxygen to breathe even when the plan is at a high altitude where the air outside is low on oxygen. Many private plans are not pressurized. It's best to avoid altitudes higher than about 7,000 feet in unpressurized planes.

Don't worry about walking through the metal detector at the airport security check. These machines give off very low levels of radiation - not nearly enough to harm you or your baby.




Sex During Pregnancy

Changes in our bodies and feelings are bound to affect our sexual images and urges. Just as we are all individuals, so too do we have individual feelings about sex and sexuality when we are pregnant. Pregnancy may be welcome or unwanted. It may be healthy or complicated. A woman may feel fulfilled or simply fat. She may be a first-time mother or have other children already. There is no one 'normal' way to feel or behave.


The following questions are the ones couples ask most often:

  • Is it normal to feel like making love during pregnancy?
    Some people do and some don't. The increased blood flow to the genitals can be quite arousing for some women but uncomfortable for others. Some women reach orgasm more easily. If there are no medical reasons not to, and it doesn't go against your personal or religious beliefs, go ahead and enjoy lovemaking. Satisfying sexual activity can be relaxing and make you feel closer to your partner.

  • Is it normal to feel turned off by sex during pregnancy?
    At both the beginning and end of pregnancy especially, many women don't care about or are "turned off" by sex. The physical discomforts of fatigue and nausea in the first three months, or later in the pregnancy, can cause problems. Some women may be irritable or feel bulky and undesirable. Others are afraid of hurting the baby or accidentally starting labor. (This is unlikely to happen in most cases.) Some women are uncomfortable or ill and don't feel like having sex throughout the entire pregnancy.

  • She doesn't look sexy to me right to me now.
    Some men are turned off by their partner's new shape or are afraid to hurt the baby. Others find pregnant women very attractive. They may, for example, find a partner's larger breasts appealing. It helps to have patience and discuss your feelings openly.

  • I'm just too big!
    How to do it when you do feel like it is a common problem. Sometimes it's just a question finding a practical position: try woman on top or 'spoon' (man entering vagina from behind) positions. Remember that intercourse is not the only way to make love.

  • I just feel too sick/tired/irritable to have sex.
    It's important to talk about your concerns and understand how one another feels. Sometimes it's just a matter of talking together in a loving way and making time to hug, kiss and feel close to each other, to discover it was worthwhile after all. It is important that a partner take time with lovemaking, especially before penetration.

  • When we make love, can we hurt the baby?
    Lovemaking and intercourse in pregnancy should always be gentle. The mucous plug and bag of waters protect the baby from injury or infection. There are times when it is necessary to abstain from sex for medical reasons, such as painful intercourse, if there is bleeding from the vagina, or if the waters have broken. If these things happen, call your provider. If not-relax, you are unlikely to hurt the baby.

  • Can we break the bag of waters or start labor if we make love?
    It has not been proven that intercourse or orgasm causes premature labor in a healthy pregnancy. However, when you are near or past your due date and the cervix is ripe, intercourse resulting in orgasm (and also nipple stimulation) can be a way to help labor get started.

  • Is there any reason not to have intercourse?
    The most important reason is simply that you don't feel like it. Your provider may tell you to be careful or not to have intercourse at all if you have had any bleeding, if fluid is leaking from your vagina or if you have a history of premature labor. When you are told not to have intercourse, it may also mean that you should avoid orgasm. Ask your provider what you can and cannot do. On the whole, though, as long as you feel like it and haven't been told not to, it's okay to make love at any time during pregnancy.

  • This is our second child. I'm too tired at night and my other child(ren) don't nap. When will we find time to make love?
    This is an understandable concern, common to many! First of all, it pays to be flexible about the time and place for lovemaking. Sometimes, though, the only solution is to "plan your spontaneity" by finding childcare to allow the two of you private time.

  • Is it true that birth is like an orgasm?
    Because the inside and outside genitalia are stimulated during birth, and because labor is a uniquely feminine experience, some women feel deeply aroused. Most, however, would not describe childbirth as orgasmic.

  • In the long run...
    We are all different. For most of us, accepting these differences, talking with and caring about our partners, will see us through this time as we move from being lovers to being both lovers and parents.



Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaking can quiet a baby... forever

In 1993, the Legislature found that, "shaken baby syndrome is a medically serious, sometimes fatal, usually unintentional matter affecting newborns and very young children."

Weak neck muscles combines with a soft, rapid forming brain and thin skull wall make infants and toddlers extremely vulnerable to injury from shaking. The whiplash motion caused by shaking can damage nerves and brain tissue. Children injured in this way may die, or if they often suffer from blindness, cerebal palsy, hearing loss, spinal cord injury, seizures, or paralysis, and learning disabilities for the rest of their lives. This tragedy known as "Shaken baby syndrome" can be prevented. It is estimated that 1,000-3,000 children are diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome annually, with thousands more misdiagnosed and undetected.

Crying is the most common "trigger" for shaking.

Many new parents and caregivers don't understand that crying is a baby's way to communicate. Some babies cry more than others. A baby may cry because of hunger, the need to suck, pain from illness, teething or earaches, colic, need for comfort, or the need for rest.



  • Shaken baby syndrome accounts for an estimated 10-12 percent of all deaths due to abuse or neglect in the United States.
  • All healthy babies cry. Don't take it personally - babies cry because it is the only way they know how to express themselves. Babies eventually outgrow the crying.
  • Almost 80 percent of babies with Shaken baby syndrome were shaken by men. Shaken baby syndrome most often occurs prior to age one but has occurred in children as old as five years of age.
  • Shaken baby syndrome occurs in families of all races, income, and education levels.



  • Dramatic changes in the baby's appearance and behavior
  • Unconsciousness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pale or bluish skin
  • Breathing problems
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Blood in the eyes
  • Unable to lift or turn head
  • Limp or lethargic



  • Make sure the baby is fed and dry
  • Feed your baby slowly
  • Remember to burp your baby often
  • Rock the baby gently or go for a walk
  • Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or car
  • Try a wind-up infant swing
  • Place the baby in a safe place, close the door and go to another room, turn up the radio, do something that you want to do. Remember a little crying will not hurt your baby
  • Call a relative or friend to talk out your frustration
  • See if a relative or friend can watch the baby for you
  • Relax. Take some deep breaths.
  • Call your child's doctor for other tips on caring for a fussy baby.



  • NEVER shake or toss a baby around
  • Always provide support for a baby's head
  • Educate all family members and caregivers about the dangers of shaking a baby!