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Questions our Patients Frequently Ask

Pregnancy FAQs

How early can you take a pregnancy test?

You can take a pregnancy test any time after your period is late (if it's been more than 28 days since your last period). Taking a pregnancy test as soon as possible is a good idea if you miss your period or think you might be pregnant. Many pregnancy tests say they work a few days before a missed period, but the results can be less accurate at that time. Read the label on your pregnancy test to find out when to take a pregnancy test and how accurate it will be.

How many weeks is a pregnancy?

There are 40 weeks (or 280 days) in pregnancy for a single baby.

What should you do when you find out you're pregnant?

We recommend that you schedule a visit with a licensed OB/GYN. Make sure you pick a doctor you feel comfortable with and trust. Not only could this person deliver your baby, but you'll also be seeing them a lot over the next

9 or so months.

What should I expect at my first OB appointment?

The first OB appointment will be the most involved. During this visit, a complete history and physical exam will be done. Your OB will evaluate all risk factors that may impact your pregnancy, and we'll talk about screening for chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects. We will aid you with coping with symptoms of pregnancy, including morning sickness and other discomforts. We will also provide you with advice related to your diet, medication usage, and overall health during your pregnancy. Your prenatal appointments are your opportunity to ask any questions to help better you care for yourself during pregnancy.

How much cramping is normal in early pregnancy?

Cramping in early pregnancy is generally expected and usually isn't a sign of a problem. Most pregnancies will intermittently have mild (light) cramping during the first 16 weeks. Women are less likely to experience cramping or other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms during the second trimester. One exception is for women who are pregnant with multiples since the uterus grows more rapidly and will reach third-trimester proportions in the second trimester.

I am in labor. What is the process?

From 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., report directly to the Birthing Center at Liberty Hospital. The Birthing Center is on the third floor of the Medical Plaza East Building. After hours, enter the Emergency Room. Liberty Hospital is located at 2529 Glenn Hendren Drive, Liberty, MO 64068

How much bleeding is normal in early pregnancy?

If there is excessive bleeding or if you are in severe pain, please seek medical attention immediately. Light amounts of vaginal bleeding early in your pregnancy (before 12 weeks) is very common.

How accurate are pregnancy tests?

Many home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate. However, home pregnancy tests tend to differ in their ability to diagnose pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. If you have a negative test but think you might be pregnant, repeat the test one week after your missed period or contact your healthcare provider.

Do pregnancy tests expire?

Yes, home pregnancy tests expire. Expiration dates are typically stamped on the box as well as the individual wrapping of each test.

How soon can a pregnancy test read positive?

In many cases, an at-home test might read positive as early as 10 days after conception. For a more accurate result, wait until you've missed your period to take a test. Please note that if you take a test too soon, it could read negative, even if you are pregnant.

What are the common causes of a false negative pregnancy test?

A false negative pregnancy test can occur if you:

  • Take the test too early
    • The earlier you take a home pregnancy test after a missed period, the harder it is for the test to detect HCG. For the most accurate results, repeat the test one week after a missed period.
  • Check the test results too soon
    • It is vital to give the pregnancy test time to work. Consider setting a timer in accordance with the instructions on the package.
  • Use diluted urine
    • For the most accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning (urine is most concentrated then).

How early can a blood test detect pregnancy?

Blood pregnancy tests can pick up HCG earlier in a pregnancy than urine tests. They can detect pregnancy about 6-8 days after you ovulate.

Obstetric FAQs

What is Obstetrics?

Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. A medical specialty, obstetrics is often combined with gynecology under the medical field known as OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology).

What is the difference between Obstetrics and Gynecology?

Obstetrics involves care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Gynecology deals with reproductive health and the functions and diseases specific to women and girls.

What is high-risk obstetrics?

Also known as a high-risk pregnancy, high-risk obstetrics occurs when the mother or fetus has an increased risk of adverse outcomes compared to uncomplicated pregnancies.

What is an obstetric panel?

An obstetric panel is a group of blood tests done to check a woman's health before and during early pregnancy. The panel's results can assist in finding specific problems during the pregnancy. The results can also help guide any treatment needed during pregnancy or for a baby immediately after birth.

Do I need to fast for an obstetric panel?


What is an obstetric ultrasound?

Also known as prenatal ultrasound, an obstetric ultrasound uses medical ultrasonography to create real-time visual images of the developing embryo or fetus in the uterus.

How do I calculate an obstetric score?

Also known as GTPAL, an obstetric score measures the number of pregnancies and deliveries with different outcomes a patient has had. GTPAL stands for gravidity, term, preterm, abortion, and living. An example calculation is as follows:

Imagine a patient who has had 2 term deliveries, 1 preterm delivery, 7 miscarriages, and has 2 living children.

  • G = 10 (the patient's combined 2 term birth + 1 preterm birth + 7 miscarriages)
  • T = 2 (the patient's 2 term births)
  • P = 1 (the patient's 1 preterm births)
  • A = 7 (the patient's 7 miscarriages)
  • L = 2 (the patient's 2 living children)

How does HIV impact an obstetric panel?

It is recommended to test for HIV during an obstetric panel. There is a 1 in 4 risk that your baby will have HIV if your HIV is left untreated. If you are treated, the risk drops to about 1 in 100. Most babies born to HIV-positive mothers will not get HIV if mothers are treated during pregnancy and delivery if the babies are also treated in the first few weeks after birth.

What is obstetric cholestasis?

Obstetric cholestasis is an uncommon disorder that affects the liver during pregnancy. It causes a buildup of bile acids in the body. The main symptom of obstetric cholestasis is itching of the skin without a skin rash.

What is an obstetric fistula?

Obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum. It is caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without access to timely, high-quality medical care. 

Gynecology FAQs

What is gynecology?

Gynecology is the field of medicine that involves the treatment of women's diseases, especially those of the reproductive organs. It is often paired with the field of obstetrics, forming the combined area of OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology).

What is the difference between gynecology and obstetrics?

Gynecology deals with reproductive health and the functions and diseases specific to women and girls. Obstetrics involves care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. 

Does urgent care perform gynecology services?

While they are medical professionals, urgent care doctors are not gynecologists who specialize in women's healthcare. They often treat basic infections but if your symptoms persist you should see your Gynecologist. They will not perform routine gynecologic care such as pap smears.

Does a family practice doctor do gynecology?

Some family medicine specialists can do general gynecology such as pap smears, STD screenings and prescribe contraception. However, gynecologists and primary care/family practice doctors specialize in different things. Gynecologists are trained to focus on women's health issues, while general practitioners are the doctors we see for regular checkups and immunizations.

Can midwives do gynecology?

Midwives are licensed health care professionals that specialize in women's reproductive health and childbirth. While their medical approach and philosophy are somewhat different from that of OB/GYNs, their care is similar in many ways. Midwives are not surgeons and cannot perform surgery. Only an OB/GYN can perform surgery.

Does Planned Parenthood do gynecology?

Planned Parenthood provides essential reproductive and sexual health services such as pelvic exams, Pap tests, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for vaginal infections and contraception.

What happens at your first gynecology appointment?

Your first gynecology visit may be just a talk between you and your doctor about what to expect at future visits and information about how to stay healthy. Your gynecologist may ask questions about you and your family, including personal questions regarding subjects such as your menstrual period or sexual activities. The doctor may also perform a general physical exam and genital exam.

What to expect during a typical gynecology appointment?

As a part of your physical exam, the doctor will examine the outside of your vagina for abnormalities before examining your reproductive organs from the inside. During this exam, your knees will be bent with your feet up in stirrups, and the gynecologist will use a speculum to hold the vagina open while examining it and the cervix. This process shouldn't feel painful, more like pressure. A sample of cells from your cervix will be taken using a small brush for a Pap test. The cells will then be sent to a lab and checked for abnormalities that could signify cervical cancer or HPV.

If you are sexually active, your doctor will offer to test for sexually transmitted diseases during your pelvic exam or check your blood test. Your OB/GYN might also do a breast exam to check for lumps or abnormalities.

How should I prepare for a gynecology appointment?

You can prepare for a gynecology appointment by doing the following:

  • Don't schedule your appointment during your period
  • Reconsider pelvic grooming (hair removal can cause swelling or inflammation that may make a pelvic exam more challenging)
  • Don't douche (discharge helps the doctor understand your hormonal balance, and artificially changing it before an exam could affect examination results)
  • Don't have sex the night before
  • Keep track of your cycle
  • Bring your medical records
  • Come prepared with a list of questions (even potentially embarrassing ones)

What is pediatric gynecology?

Pediatric gynecology is the medical practice concerning the health of the vagina, vulva, uterus, and ovaries of infants, children, and adolescents.

Ultrasound FAQs

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging method that uses sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. It can also be called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography.

How does ultrasound work?

An ultrasound uses a small transducer or probe to transmit sound waves into the body and record the waves that echo back. Sound waves travel into the examined area until they hit a boundary between tissues, such as between fluid and soft tissue or soft tissue and bone.

What is an ultrasound used for?

Doctors commonly use ultrasound to study a developing fetus, a person's abdominal and pelvic organs, muscles and tendons, or heart and blood vessels.

When do I get my first ultrasound?

Your first ultrasound, called the "dating" or "viability" ultrasound, is typically performed between the 7th and 8th weeks of your pregnancy. It is used to verify your due date, look for a fetal heartbeat, and measure the baby's length from "crown to rump."

How soon can an ultrasound detect pregnancy?

The earliest an ultrasound scan can identify a pregnancy inside the uterine cavity is 17 days after the egg was released from the ovary (approximately three days after a missed period). You are unlikely to see the fetus or the fetal heart beat at this time though.

How many ultrasounds should I expect during pregnancy?

Most healthy women receive two ultrasounds during pregnancy. The first confirms the due date, and the second is at 18-22 weeks to ensure normal anatomy and the sex of the baby.

Are ultrasounds safe for the baby?

Ultrasounds are safe for you and your baby when done by a healthcare provider. It uses sound waves rather than radiation, making it safer than X-rays.

How long does an ultrasound take?

An ultrasound usually takes around 20-40 minutes, depending on the type of examination.

How can I read my ultrasound?

To read an ultrasound picture, look for white spots on the image to see solid tissues, such as bones, and dark spots on the image to see fluid-filled tissues, such as the amniotic fluid in the uterus.

Can an ultrasound detect ectopic pregnancy?

Yes, an ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed by carrying out a transvaginal ultrasound scan. Sometimes an ectopic pregnancy is not clearly seen on ultrasound. If there is suspicion for an abnormal or ectopic pregnancy multiple ultrasounds in conjunction with lab tests are used to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.

Can an ultrasound detect the sex of the baby?

Yes, the baby's sex is often determined from an ultrasound scan conducted between the 18th and 22nd week of your pregnancy. The fetal sex can be detected as early at 16 weeks on an ultrasound. Talk to your doctor about doing an optional ultrasound at 16 weeks.

Can an ultrasound detect cancer?

An ultrasound produces information that can help diagnose cancer, particularly in soft tissues. Often, it is used as the first step in the standard cancer diagnostic process. However, an ultrasound cannot tell whether a tumor is, in fact, cancerous.

When do twins show up on an ultrasound?

An ultrasound can definitively show if you have twins as early as your first ultrasound between the 7th and 8th weeks of pregnancy.

Can I eat before an ultrasound?

Yes. For an early obstetric ultrasound or for a gynecologic ultrasound it is best if you have a full bladder. You should drink 32 ounces of water one hour before your exam.

When can I hear a baby's heartbeat on an ultrasound?

A fetal heartbeat may first be detected by a vaginal ultrasound as early as 5.5-6 weeks after gestation.

Is it normal to bleed after an ultrasound?

Spotting may occur after a vaginal ultrasound due to the area's sensitivity.

What is a transvaginal ultrasound?

A transvaginal ultrasound is a procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis.

Postpartum FAQs

What does postpartum mean?

Postpartum refers to the time after childbirth.

What is postpartum hypertension?

Postpartum hypertension refers to high blood pressure (systolic pressure at or above 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure at or above 90 mm Hg) after delivery.

How long does postpartum bleeding last?

Postpartum bleeding varies for every woman. For some, it can last a couple of weeks, and for others, up to a month or longer. Generally, postpartum bleeding stops after about 4-6 weeks.

How long does postpartum swelling last?

Postpartum swelling may take up to two weeks to resolve. It is usually your body's way of getting rid of some of the excess fluid accumulated during pregnancy.

What is a postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula is a person that provides families with information and support on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant soothing, and coping skills for new parents. They might also help with light housework, cooking, and incorporating an older child into this unique experience.

What is postpartum depression?

Sometimes referred to as the "baby blues," postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs after childbirth. Symptoms might include insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability, and difficulty bonding with the baby.

How common is postpartum depression?

Many new mothers experience a mild, brief bout of depression for a few days or weeks after giving birth. However, 10-20% of new moms will experience a more severe form of postpartum depression that can interfere with daily life.

When does postpartum depression start?

Postpartum depression typically begins within the first 2-3 days after delivery.

How long does postpartum depression last?

The baby blues usually go away within 3-5 days. Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or even years.

Can men get postpartum depression?

Yes, new fathers can experience profound mood changes after childbirth. About 10% of fathers experience some form of paternal postnatal depression.

Is hair loss common postpartum?

Many new moms experience noticeable hair loss a few months after having a baby. It is normal and not a sign of actual hair loss. Dermatologists refer to this condition as excessive hair shedding, and falling estrogen levels cause it.

When can I take a bath postpartum?

It's best to wait at least four weeks or until you've received clearance from your healthcare provider before taking your first bath after giving birth. In those first few weeks postpartum, your cervix is still somewhat dilated, regardless of whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section.

When can I resume exercise postpartum?

Most new mothers should wait at least 6 weeks after giving birth to resume strenuous exercise like running, cycling or lifting weights. Light and moderate exercise can begin sooner. If you had a cesarean section (C-section) you should wait the full 6 weeks.

What should I expect at a postpartum checkup?

At your postpartum checkup, your provider makes sure you're recovering well after giving birth and adjusting to life as a mom. Your doctor will also:

  • Check blood pressure, weight, breasts, and belly
  • Examine your c-section incision (if applicable)
  • Conduct a pelvic exam
  • Check on any health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that you had during pregnancy
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date, including vaccinations for flu and pertussis, so you can help keep from getting sick and passing an illness to your baby

How long do postpartum cramps last?

New mothers may experience cramping pain and discomfort following the birth of their baby. These symptoms can be due to the uterus contracting and returning to its normal pre-pregnancy size. These pains usually last for 2-3 days after birth.

How soon can I resume intercourse postpartum?

There is no required waiting period before you can have sex again, but many healthcare providers recommend waiting to have sex until 4-6 weeks after childbirth. The risk of complications after delivery is highest during the first two weeks after delivery. Be sure to use condoms or talk to your doctor about contraception prior to becoming sexually active.

How soon can I get pregnant postpartum?

You can get pregnant as little as three weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again.

Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665