Kingston General Hospital's Obstetrical Care Clinic, located on the fifth floor of the Armstrong wing, offers a range of specialty services to expectant mothers and mothers who have recently given birth. This care is divided into three groups, low-risk obstetrical care, high-risk obstetrical care and adolescent obstetrical care.
Low Risk Obstetrical Care
Healthy mothers most often have healthy babies and regular prenatal check-ups let your caregivers watch your health and your baby’s development. Usually, you should see your caregiver at the following intervals:
- Once a month for the first seven months.
- Every two weeks in the eighth month.
- Once a week in the ninth month, leading up to your delivery.
When you arrive in the clinic, you will be directed to a clinic room where you will be assessed by your caregiver. At each check-up, your caregiver will weigh you, ask for a urine sample and will take your blood pressure. We do this for the following reasons:
- By weighing you regularly through your pregnancy, we are better able to track your progress. During pregnancy, most women gain about 25 to 30 pounds, but you and your caregiver should talk about what is best for you during your pregnancy.
- By checking your urine, we'll be able to see if you are showing any signs of kidney problems or diabetes. Before each appointment please take a urine sample from when you first wake up in the morning and bring it with you.
- Being pregnant may increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure, if not treated, can be dangerous for you and your baby. High blood pressure sometimes requires admission to the hospital.
During your appointment, your caregiver will also listen to the baby’s heart rate and feel your abdomen to find the position and size of your baby. A tape measure will be used to record the level of your uterus. During your appointment we will also take a blood sample and test it for hemoglobin levels, Rubella susceptibility, Hepatitis B, Syphilis and to determine your blood type. It is also recommended that the pertussis vaccination be given between 28 and 30 weeks of pregnancy. Your body will make antibodies to pertussis that will cross the placenta and help to protect your baby. These antibodies will not interfere with the antibodies your baby will make after being vaccinated as an infant. For more information on the pertussis vaccine, please see our informational brochure: KHSC Pertussis information.
There are also several specialized tests available through this clinic, should you want to have them done. The first is maternal serum screening, which is a blood test that is done between the 15 and 17 week of pregnancy. The results of this test may help us determine if your baby may have a condition such as Down syndrome or spina bifida. The second, is HIV testing, which is recommended for all pregnant women in Canada. Prenatal treatment can reduce the risk of an HIV positive mother giving the virus to her baby.
When you come to this clinic, these tests will be done in at the Diagnostic Centre located on the first floor of the Armstrong wing.
High Risk Obstetrical Care
Pregnancy can take a toll on even the healthiest of women and complications can arise with little warning. Even if you eat right, keep active and avoid drugs and alcohol, there are some complications that can arise during pregnancy that will be out of your control. If your primary care giver determines that your pregnancy is high-risk, you will be referred to this clinic which operates on the fifth floor of the Armstrong wing.
In this clinic you may be cared for by a specialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine dealing with high risk pregnancies. It is important that you attend all prenatal appointments so that you can be monitored closely and can be treated early. Once you have been referred to this clinic, you will be monitored throughout your pregnancy to determine if any of your complications could affect you or the health of your baby. Some examples of complications that may arise are:
- Preeclampsia - a condition characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention.
- Gestational hypertension - a condition characterized by high blood pressure, which may lead to a more serious case of preeclampsia.
- Gestational diabetes - a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
- Placental abruption - a condition where the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
- Preterm premature rupture of membranes - a condition defined as rupture, or breakage, of theamniotic sac. If this happens before the 37 week of pregnancy, there is a greater risk of complications.
- Placenta previa - a condition in which the placenta partially or wholly blocks the uterus, interfering with normal delivery of the baby.
It is important that if you have any existing medical conditions, it is always best to wait until your condition is well controlled and has been stable for a period of time before you try to get pregnant. Flare ups in your medical condition are often harder to control once you are pregnant. Also, some medications that might have been used to treat your condition may not be recommended for use when you are pregnant. If you have an underlying medical condition it is best to discuss your condition with your primary caregiver to prevent problems from arising. There are three questions that should be discussed:
- What is the impact of your medical condition on the pregnancy?
- What is the impact of pregnancy on your medical condition?
- What is the impact of your medications on the baby?
Women who enter pregnancy with a BMI >35kg/m2 are at a higher risk for pregnancy problems. This includes pregnancy loss, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Click here for more information.
Adolescent Obstetrical Care
If you are a pregnant teen, KGH has a special clinic dedicated to supporting you through your pregnancy. In this clinic we'll work with you to make sure you receive the care you require while you are pregnant to help you achieve the healthiest pregnancy possible. Our teams will also help you prepare to become a good parents once your baby has arrived. The clinic is located on the fifth floor of our Armstrong wing and you do not need to be referred to this clinic by a medical professional. To contact this clinic please call 613-549-6666 extension 0. As the operator to forward you to the obstetrical clinic on Armstrong 5.
In this clinic you will have access to a dietician, social worker, counselor, public health nurse and an obstetrician. Our teams are completely non-judgemental and will embrace you and your unique challenges. These challenges may be things such as the pregnancy itself or other issues such as school, your nutrition, finances, a place to live, your relationships, anxiety, or substance abuse problems. Friends, family or your partner are welcome to come to your appointments with you if you would like support.
When it is time for you to give birth, the doctor from the teen clinic can't always guarantee that they'll be able to deliver your baby. If the doctor is not available, you'll be seen by the ‘on-call' doctor on the Labour and Delivery unit. Ater you give birth, you can also return to the clinic to receive care for you and your new baby. The clinic will also help you with birth control moving forward.