Starting a family begins long before conception. As women begin to think about getting pregnant, they should consider the state of their own health. Finding an obstetrician or certified nurse midwife marks the first step to motherhood. A pre-pregnancy physical allows women to ask their physician questions about diet and nutrition, weight gain, prenatal vitamins and any other concerns.
Conception occurs when the woman’s egg is released from her ovaries and passes into one of the needle-thin passageways through the fallopian tubes where, it encounters sperm and is fertilized. The egg then embeds itself into the wall of the uterus where it develops into a fetus. If a couple has difficulty getting pregnant, infertility specialists evaluate the trouble and work to correct the problem.
Most expectant mothers go through pregnancy, labor, delivery, recovery and the postpartum period under the supervision of their general obstetricians. If abnormal risks are involved or concerns develop during the pregnancy, obstetricians may refer the woman to a maternal health specialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine.