A lot of couples we work with have experienced difficulty not only getting pregnant, but staying pregnant. These couples know that getting pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be holding a healthy, happy baby at the end of nine months. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Fertility, we know conception is just the beginning, and we are with you through every step of your pregnancy journey.
Once you do get pregnant, here’s what you should know and expect.
Understanding the Stages of Pregnancy
Conception occurs when the egg and sperm meet, and that, in itself, is not complicated; but conception doesn’t always lead to a viable pregnancy. So instead of focusing on conception, we look at fertilization rates, which is how often the sperm fertilizes the egg, and cleavage rates, which is how the cells of the early embryo divide.
Once the embryo is implanted and we have evidence of pregnancy, we consider it a chemical pregnancy because the hormones of pregnancy are starting to be produced. Once the pregnancy begins growing in the uterus and we see clinical, concrete evidence that the patient is pregnant, we call it a clinical pregnancy. Finally, once we see that the pregnancy is healthy and the fetus is growing, that’s a viable pregnancy.
Our goal isn’t even necessarily a viable pregnancy. We want to get through the pregnancy and make sure the couple delivers a healthy baby. So ultimately, we’re concerned with the live birth rate at AZCREI.
We know as soon as possible—the day of a patient’s missed period—whether or not she’s pregnant. We use very sensitive tests to find out if a patient is pregnant, and as soon as we know that she is, we schedule an ultrasound for the following week (five weeks from the patient’s last menstrual period), to see if the pregnancy is growing and if it’s actually in the uterus. At six weeks from the last menstrual period, we can hear the baby’s heart beat on the ultrasound, and that’s a very reassuring sign that the pregnancy is progressing.
By the end of the first trimester, which is at the end of 12 weeks, we can be confident that most of the problems that could have already occurred, like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, have been eliminated. When we’re very certain that the pregnancy is going as good as it can, that’s when we send our patient to her OB/GYN.
Getting Through Pregnancy to a Healthy Delivery
It’s getting through pregnancy that could potentially be the biggest challenge. There are pitfalls and complications that can arise during the nine-month journey, and we need to make sure the baby is healthy, born on time, and doesn’t have medical problems later in life. That’s why our clinic is constantly checking in throughout the whole process; we want to make sure the developing baby is doing well as it is in utero and until its birth.
Once a patient is pregnant, we see them weekly or every two weeks depending on the circumstances, risk, and how things are progressing. The good news is that insurance is bounded by law to cover a patient’s pregnancy, so from here on out, tests and appointments are paid for by insurance, reducing some of the financial strain and stress. And then we follow them very closely with ultrasounds and blood tests, giving them additional reassurance that the pregnancy continues to be healthy.
Working to Prevent Complications During Pregnancy
It’s so important to us that we check in because there is a possibility for a lot of complications early on in the pregnancy. With obstetrics and modern medicine, we’re trying to eliminate problems and deal with them as they come up.
Some complications we’re looking out for are bleeding, abnormal pain, cysts, or ectopic pregnancies. But the most common issue, especially related to age, is an early miscarriage. Even with the best, high-tech evaluations early on, we can’t entirely eliminate the risk of miscarriage. We try to prevent couples from miscarrying early on, and if a miscarriage does occur, we figure out why and try to prevent it from happening again for the same reason in the future.
Our job is to get through the pregnancy so the baby is born on time and healthy, and that we’ve done all the appropriate things during the pregnancy to make sure that happens. Because couples have gone through so much difficulty to get pregnant, we’re heavily invested in making sure their pregnancy is viable. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we want to help you not only get pregnant, but have a healthy, happy baby. Contact us today by calling 520-326-0001 or visiting us online to start your journey.