Frequently Asked Questions
Our Jefferson Health Obstetrics & Maternity Care team is here to answer all of your questions, starting with the frequently asked questions below.
Who will provide my prenatal and labor and delivery care?
Obstetricians, nurse practitioners and/or midwives, if you choose, will provide your care. At Jefferson Health, we use a team-based approach to ensure you get the level of care you need at every stage of pregnancy and beyond. We partner with you in every decision, emphasizing shared decision making and patient education to empower you to shape your pregnancy, birthing and infant-feeding experiences.
Our Obstetrics & Maternity Care team covers the Labor & Delivery unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever the time comes, we’ll be here waiting for you.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) following extensive graduate education and clinical training in midwifery. CNMs are experts in healthy pregnancies and births and offer individualized care and counseling for each patient based on their physical, psychological and social needs. Since midwives’ focus is on healthy, “normal” pregnancies and births, CNMs partner with obstetricians in the event of complications.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
Your first appointment, or “New OB Intake,” is a telehealth appointment with one of our nurse practitioners or midwives. Next, you will be scheduled for a New OB appointment in the office. During your first in-office prenatal visit with your provider, we will review your medical history and counseling options, conduct a complete physical exam and early pregnancy blood tests and discuss and order ultrasounds and genetic screening tests.
How frequent are my appointments?
For an uncomplicated pregnancy, prenatal visits follow the general schedule below:
- Starting at 14-18 weeks, you will have an appointment every four weeks
- After 28 weeks, you will have an appointment every two weeks until delivery
Additional visits may be scheduled as needed.
What educational classes are available to me?
Our patients have access to a host of patient education resources to help you feel empowered, prepared and confident from pregnancy to delivery to caring for your newborn.
We offer a range of Parent & Family Education classes throughout the year with topics that include childbirth, breastfeeding, CPR and getting ready for your baby. Learn more about our Parent & Family Education classes, including the full list of classes and availability.
We also offer a group prenatal care program called CenteringPregnancy® that includes extended, two-hour sessions with individual provider check-ins and group education sessions with expectant parents who are all due around the same time. Find out if CenteringPregnancy® is the right prenatal care approach for you and your family.
What breastfeeding resources are available to me?
We offer a range of breastfeeding resources for our patients through pregnancy, after delivery and beyond. For details on breastfeeding support, including resources and FAQs, please visit our Baby-Friendly® Breastfeeding page.
Can I visit the Labor & Delivery unit?
For the health and safety of our patients and healthcare providers, we have suspended all on-site tours until further notice. While our doors may be temporarily closed, you can take a virtual tour of our Labor & Delivery unit. The interactive virtual tour gives you a full-spectrum view of your time here, including 360-degree angles and photo galleries.
What if my pregnancy is considered “high-risk?”
Our obstetrical team is experienced in providing pregnancy care for a variety of conditions that can make your pregnancy “high-risk,” including:
- Having a pre-existing condition, such as cancer, lupus, diabetes, hypertension or asthma;
- Carrying a baby with abnormalities;
- Having a multiple pregnancy.
We practice a team-based approach with frequent collaboration and meetings to manage complicated pregnancies. We partner closely with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) team that specializes in high-risk pregnancies. We also have a dedicated High Risk Obstetrical Unit for those who require a hospital stay during their pregnancy due to complications.
Will I need genetic testing?
We offer options for both prenatal screening and diagnostic testing. Screening tests identify increased risk of birth defects and pose no risk of miscarriage but cannot definitively diagnose a birth defect. Diagnostic tests identify certain fetal abnormalities with high accuracy but pose a small (less than 1%) risk of miscarriage. Advanced diagnostic testing is recommended for couples if any screening tests come back positive and/or one or both partners carry an inherited condition. Doing genetic testing is entirely your choice based on your personal beliefs and values. We will help you decide what testing, if any, would be beneficial for you.
What is the visitor policy when I deliver?
At Jefferson Health, our top priority is the health and safety of you and your baby. Due to COVID-19, we have revised our visitor policy. The new visitor policy will be in effect until further notice.
One designated support person is permitted for labor, delivery and the duration of your stay. If you require a cesarean or surgical delivery, your support person is allowed in the operating room during the procedure.
See the additional steps we have taken to ensure the health and safety of our patients and healthcare providers during COVID-19.
What are my pain relief options?
We believe pain can be relieved in many different ways. We work closely with specially trained anesthesiologists who are at the hospital 24/7 and can provide an epidural, if you choose. We can also order intravenous pain medications, if you prefer a milder form of pain relief. If you are hoping to cope with the discomfort of labor without using pain medication, we are experts in providing labor support as well. We will help you come up with a birth plan during your prenatal care, including your pain relief options and preferences.
What if I need a C-Section?
In the event that you need a cesarean or surgical delivery, we have dedicated surgical suites in the Labor & Delivery unit. Your support person is allowed in the operating room during the procedure.
Will I be separated from my baby after birth?
We encourage early skin-to-skin contact and rooming-in for you and your baby. Babies who don’t require any intervention will do skin-to-skin immediately after delivery and will remain in-room with you throughout your hospital stay. If your baby requires critical care, we have an in-house Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) that is easily accessible from the Labor & Delivery unit.
What if my baby requires critical care?
Jefferson Health is among the best in the region in providing critical care for newborns. Our Level III Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) is a 40-bed combined intensive care and transitional nursery that provides specialized care for critically ill neonates and infants. Level III status is the most sophisticated type of nursery available for infants who require surgery and other high-tech care.
What happens once my baby is born?
Our team stays in the room with you after your baby is born to ensure your health is stable following delivery. Additionally, our team makes rounds to spend time with you on the postpartum floor to assess your health and wellness and provide anticipatory guidance on what to expect as you adjust to changes in your body and begin your recovery period at home. Our specially trained nurses and lactation specialists will also help you with breastfeeding and infant bonding. In general, you can expect to stay 24-36 hours after a vaginal birth and 48-60 hours after a cesarean birth.
Do you provide any newborn screening?
Before leaving the hospital, Pennsylvania law requires that your baby be screened for four health problems: PKU (phenylketonuria), hypothyroidism, sickle cell disease and maple syrup urine disease (MSUD). Screening is performed by taking a few drops of blood from your baby's heel and sending it to a state-approved lab for screening. The state also mandates universal hearing screening for potential hearing impairment.
What if I experience postpartum depression or anxiety?
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, we are here for you. We offer free therapy and counseling to help you get back to feeling like yourself and enjoying your new baby and growing family.