Index of Our Frequently Asked Questions
How often will I be seen?
During the first 6 months, you will come about once a month. Starting at 28 weeks (around 7 months), you'll come every two weeks. During the last month of your pregnancy, you will be seen every week until you deliver. This is the typical schedule for an uncomplicated pregnancy; if you are having any complications you will be seen as often as is necessary.
During each visit, we will check your urine, weight, and blood pressure. We will measure how much your uterus is growing and listen to heart tones of the baby.
What medicines can I take?
Our preference is to avoid all medicines in pregnancy, if possible. Please discuss with us any medicines you have been on or would like to take. We will let you know if they are safe for your baby. Please also ask us before taking any herbal medicines or tea; as these have medicinal properties, they may not necessarily be safe during pregnancy.
For headaches, backaches, sore muscles, or fevers, take Tylenol.
For allergies, colds, or coughs, take Robitussin, Sudafed, Claritin, and Zyrtec. You may take Benedryl for bedtime use, only.
For heartburn, take Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta.
For yeast infections, take Monistat; over the counter medicine is fine as well.
For constipation, take Colace, Milk of Magnesia, Metamucil, or Miralax.
Please avoid aspirin or nonsteroidals like Motrin or Advil; also, avoid products with alcohol.
Why do I have my blood drawn?
We will do several important tests on your blood: we need to know your blood type and if you have been exposed to various diseases like rubella, hepatitis, syphilis, and the chicken pox. We will also check your thyroid level.
Later in your pregnancy, we will ask you to check your blood for diabetes in pregnancy. This consists of three blood draws — one before and two after drinking a sugar solution (the drink tastes like orange soda). If your blood is elevated after the test, we will inform you that you will need a more detailed test in order to truly diagnose diabetes. You will need to be fasting for this test.
Why should I take the AFP test?
The California Prenatal Screening Program can help detect some birth defects, such as Down syndrome, neural tube defects, trisomy 18 and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. Please refer to the brochure given on your first visit, which is also available on the website at the bottom of this page. Though this test is voluntary, the state mandates that we offer this option: please inform your provider if you consent or decline to test. The testing includes a blood test and ultrasound in the first trimester and blood test in the second trimester.
Will I have an ultrasound?
We will schedule an ultrasound for you between your 18-20th weeks to look for any abnormalities in your pregnancy. If you wish to know the gender of your baby, you may ask at that time. Remember, there is no guarantee that we can confirm definitively your baby's gender. If we are unable to tell the sex of the baby, you can arrange to return for a second ultrasound to try again for a small fee.
How can I determine the sex of my baby?
You can determine the sex of your baby in pregnancy either at the time of the ultrasound at 18-20 weeks or by performing the Non-Invasive Pregnancy Test (NIPT). This test can be performed at any time after 10 weeks. Refer to the download form on AFP test and NIPT information for more information.
What can I do for morning sickness?
A majority of women suffer from nausea during pregnancy. It comes as a result of the hormones of pregnancy, so in a way, it marks a normal and healthy pregnancy. Morning sickness is not the best name, as it can last all day, or may even be worse at night. For the most part, nausea is not a threat to either you or your baby's health; not all women suffer from it, and each pregnancy is different in terms of its severity. Nausea usually lasts through the first trimester and, for most women, is resolved by 16 weeks. Others may suffer their whole pregnancy. Listed below are some tips for lessening the effects of nausea.
Eat around 5-6 times a day, but only eat a small portion at a time.
Try not to get too hungry between meals, and do not overeat.
Eat high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods like bananas, bread, rice, and pasta.
Avoid spicy or greasy foods. Avoid acidic foods like orange juice or apples.
Add protein to each meal and snack.
Lemonade may help reduce the extra saliva that is common with nausea in pregnancy.
Drink liquids between meals instead of during meals.
Keep crackers at your bedside and eat them before getting out of bed in the morning.
Stick to foods and beverages that are either cold or hot, not room temperature. Frozen fruit popsicles are great to have on hand.
Sea bands, a form of acupressure, apply pressure to your wrists. You can purchase them at the drugstore. While inexpensive and drug-free, there is no guarantee that they will work.
Acupuncture may also help and is safe during pregnancy.
Avoid activities that make your nausea worse. If cooking makes you ill ask family members to help cook dinner.
Go outside for fresh air.
Rise slowly from lying down or sitting.
Get plenty of rest.
Herbal treatments with mint, ginger, or orange may help and are safe.
If you are still struggling, talk to your provider about stronger anti-nausea medications.
Can I have a flu vaccination?
Yes. You should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray vaccine. You may get the vaccine in the second and third trimesters.
Getting vaccinated can help protect you and your baby after birth since you will pass antibodies onto your baby during pregnancy. Pregnant women are more likely to become severely ill because of the flu than women who are of reproductive age who are not pregnant, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu also may be harmful to a pregnant woman’s developing baby. Fever, a common flu symptom, may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby.
The flu shot is safe for pregnant women. The CDC has a list of recent studies on the benefits of flu vaccination for pregnant women can be found here.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and CDC recommend that pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy because flu poses a danger to pregnant women and a flu vaccine can prevent serious illness, including hospitalization, in pregnant women.
Pregnant women experience the same common side effects as other people. They are generally mild and include:
Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
If side effects occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given and generally last for 1-2 days. Rarely, flu shots can cause serious problems like severe allergic reactions. Anyone with a severe, life-threatening allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get the shot.
Source: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnancy."
Can I exercise during my pregnancy?
Yes, you can continue to exercise the way you exercised before you became pregnant if you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal. It is also safe to start some types of exercise. Either way, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician during your early prenatal visits, so together, we can decide on a safe routine that fits your needs.
Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your baby by:
Reducing back pain
Decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
Promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy
Improving your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
Helping you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Exercise during Pregnancy."
Can I work during my pregnancy?
Most women can continue to work while pregnant, and the Mayo Clinic has some tips. Keep bland snacks around and avoid nauseating foods and other triggers to curb nausea from morning sickness. Combat fatigue during the workday by getting enough sleep, eating protein- and iron-rich foods, drinking plenty of fluids and taking frequent breaks. Minimize workplace stress by talking to family members or co-workers, planning your day and delegating, and practicing relaxation techniques.
Certain working conditions could increase your risk of complications during pregnancy, including:
Exposure to harmful substances
Heavy lifting, climbing or carrying
Heavy vibrations, such as from large machines
Source: The Mayo Clinic. "Working during pregnancy."
How do I calculate my due date?
You can calculate your due date by subtracting 3 months from the first day of your last normal menstrual cycle and adding one week. Remember this only marks the 40th week of your pregnancy; most women do not deliver on their due date.
I had a C-Section. Will I need another?
Most patients with a prior c-section have the option of a repeat c-section or vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). For those who elect for a repeat c-section, the surgery day will be arranged as you approach your due date; it is usually around one week prior to your expected due date. Should you go into labor prior to this time, you will have your surgery at the point with the doctor on call at that time. If you choose a VBAC, we will discuss with you the risks and benefits of one and if you are a good candidate for this procedure.
Where will I deliver my baby?
Our practice delivers at Clovis Community Hospital.
Who will deliver my baby?
Dr. Kroeker works in a call rotation, ensuring there is always a provider on call for patients in labor and with emergency needs. As of Oct. 1, 2019, Dr. Kroeker joined a new call group. She will deliver and care for her own patients during office hours, Monday-Friday (8a.m. to 5 p.m.) and one to two times during the week and every seventh weekend. While Dr. Kroeker cannot guarantee she will be there for delivery, a provider will be available.
The doctors who will share call are as follows:
Dr. Dan Dorough
Dr. Dave Dorough
Dr. Larry Lopez
Dr. Lura Reddington
Dr. Bill Brown
Dr. Gilbert Moran
Am I in labor?
Contractions in labor are usually strong, painful tightenings of the uterus. They last for 30-60 seconds, with a break in between. When you begin to feel contractions, start recording the time and duration. When you are having contractions that are every 5 minutes for 1 to 2 hours, call our office and we will let you know if you should come into the office or go directly to the hospital.
What is preterm labor?
A contraction is a tightening feeling of your uterus that makes your abdomen feel firm. This sensation can range from barely noticeable to very painful. Their lengths can be from just a few seconds to a minute. Throughout your pregnancy, you will experience mild contractions that are irregular and not painful. These are normal and help prepare the uterus for labor. These contractions become abnormal when they increase in frequency, pain, and regularity before 36 weeks. Contractions may also be perceived as back pain that comes and goes or pressure in the pelvic area. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, try lying down for one hour and drinking a large glass of water or juice. Record these contractions. If you are having more than four contractions an hour for two hours that last longer than 30 seconds, please call the office. We may arrange for you to come to the office or go to the hospital for evaluation of preterm labor.
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, call the office right away.
If you call the office after office hours, press 0 to connect to the exchange. The exchange will page the doctor on call. If you do not hear from him or her within 15 minutes, go to Clovis Community Medical Center:
Bleeding from the vagina, requiring changing a pad every hour or less.
Severe pain, cramping or lower abdominal pressure that does not go away.
A stop, or noticeable reduction, in your baby's movements.
Other symptoms to watch for:
If you should experience any of the symptoms below, call our office for advice on what to do.
Fainting or dizziness not relieved by lying down and eating
Severe headache, not relieved with Tylenol
Swelling of face or hands, or severe rapid swelling of the feet or ankles
Blurred eyesight or visual disturbance
Fever or chills
Pain or burning sensation when urinating
Severe nausea and vomiting
Vaginal discharge that is bloody, greenish, yellow, bad smelling, or that which occurs with burning or itching.
Large gush of fluid or a continuous feeling of wetness.
I am bleeding slightly. Am I having a miscarriage?
Many women will experience a miscarriage during their lifetime. It is a sad time for you and your partner, but remember it is not because of anything you did or did not do. It is out of your control and is usually a sign that the pregnancy's formation was not just right.
If you begin to bleed and cramp this may mean that you are going to have a miscarriage. Brownish discharge or light bleeding near the time of your first missed period is normal. However, bleeding that is as heavy as a period is not normal and needs evaluation. If you pass any tissue, please save it and bring it to us. If you begin bleeding at nighttime and it is not more than a period, please call us in the morning to be seen. If you are bleeding more than a pad an hour, then go to the emergency department at Clovis Community Medical Center.
Should I breastfeed my baby?
We recommend all women breastfeed their babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that one year of breastfeeding is optimal. We encourage you to take a class to better prepare you for breastfeeding. Both hospitals have lactation specialists who can help with breastfeeding afte the baby is delivered and can help you once you have gone home.
Breastfeeding moms need a higher caloric intake than others; you need about 2800 kilocalories a day to keep up. This is not the time to go on any diets so as not to deprive your baby of any nutrients–you will lose weight with time. You will also need to continue taking your prenatal vitamins and calcium to help supplement your diet.
Who will be the doctor for my baby?
You will need to pick a pediatrician for your baby by your 30th week because they will see your baby the morning after you deliver (the hospital will notify your physician when you have delivered). Picking a pediatrician is an important decision: you will take your newborn to the doctor frequently the first year and you will want to be in a place where you feel your needs are being met. Meet with your doctor before the delivery to get to know him or her. Your insurance may prefer certain providers and you can obtain a list of providers from your insurance company. At the bottom of the page, we have a document which lists many of the pediatricians in the area.
Here is a list of questions that may help you select a pediatrician.
Charges per visit
Does she accept telephone consultations?
What are the office hours?
Who covers for her when she is away?
What is the after-hours coverage
Is there a nurse practitioner who handles well-baby checkups?
Is she certified by the pediatric board? Or, if she is a family doctor, how much pediatric experience has she had?
With which hospital is she affiliated?
Is it likely that she may retire before the child outgrows his services?
Will she visit your newborn in the hospital? What does her newborn exam consist of?
Do you feel from your interview that you would be able to call her as frequently as you feel necessary when the baby first comes home?
How does she feel about breastfeeding and bottle-feeding? What method of formula preparation does she recommend?
Where should you take your child in case of an emergency? Should you call first before going to the emergency room?
Is her office conveniently located to your home?
What baby care books does she recommend?
Do you have a list of companies for information about cord blood banking?
Cord Blood Registry
Cryo-Cell International, Inc.
Other Reading Material
The Complete Book of Breastfeeding , by Laura Marks, M.D. and Sally Wendkos Olds
What to Expect When You're Expecting , by Arlene Wisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, and Sandee Hathaway
What to Expect the First Year, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Manzel
When Pregnancy Isn't Perfect , by Laurie A. Rich
Your Baby and Child from Birth to Age Five, by Penelope Leach
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 , by Steven P. Shelov, M.D.
Downloadable information sheets
Our full OB information packet
Nutrients to emphasize
AFP test and NIPT information
Prenatal exercise options
Prenatal weight gain myths and weight tracker
List of local pediatricians
More questions? ACOG has answers.
Want more information about the topics we covered above? Didn't find your question above? You can always talk to your provider during your appointment, but ACOG is also a very reliable resource to consult.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, is a nonprofit organization of women's health care physicians advocating the highest standards of practice, and the most trusted resource amongst OB-GYNs. Their website includes an extensive list of easy to read, Q&A style documents for a wide range of questions that arise during pregnancy. Listed below are topics encompassing some of our frequently asked questions, linked to ACOGs downloadable PDF answers. We recommend that you read these and explore the other topics in their 'For Patients' FAQ section. Happy reading!