Prenatal Care | Women's Health | Loyola Medicine

Prenatal Care

Exceptional Prenatal Care for Mothers and Babies

Loyola Medicine provides comprehensive, integrated prenatal care for expectant moms and women who are considering pregnancy and have questions. Because we know this may be a busy time for you, we have numerous convenient locations for your doctor appointments, monitoring visits and lab tests.

Why Choose Loyola for Prenatal Care?

Loyola provides truly integrated clinical care for women and their babies during pregnancy. Whether you are expecting a normal delivery or have a medical condition that requires extra care, our dedicated team of doctors, surgeons, sonographers, pediatric subspecialists, genetic counselors, perinatologists, neonatologists and nurses will provide expert care for you and your baby during this very special time. Loyola’s clinicians are committed to the health of mother and baby through pregnancy, delivery and beyond. 

If you or your obstetrician are worried about a possible problem, Loyola’s Fetal Assessment Center offers specialized testing and diagnostic services performed by clinicians with advanced maternal-fetal medicine training. We offer numerous outpatient tests to provide an accurate assessment as quickly as possible.

As part of an academic medical center, Loyola’s expert clinicians perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and medical treatments in numerous locations across the Chicago area. In addition, our nurses have earned Magnet status, which means they have been recognized for delivering the highest level of care.  

What to Expect with Prenatal Care

If you think you may be pregnant, you will want to see one of our specialists for confirmation and to start prenatal care, which is vital for a healthy pregnancy. If your obstetrician confirms you are pregnant, you will need regular visits for monitoring and care for yourself and your baby throughout your pregnancy. You may be pregnant if you are experiencing some of the following: 

  • Acne
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Darkening of the areolas
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or sleepiness
  • Food cravings and sudden food aversions
  • Frequent urination
  • Missed period
  • Moodiness
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Oversensitivity to smell (hyperosmia)
  • Spotting
  • Swollen, tender or sore breasts​

Pregnant patients will have at least 13 prenatal visits, including:

  • Monthly visits in the first 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Weekly visits starting at week 37
  • Possible follow-up visits to assess and monitor any complications that may arise during your pregnancy

You will undergo routine tests and screenings to ensure that you and your baby are healthy and to avoid pregnancy complications. This may include pregnancy ultrasounds, nonstress testing and lab tests to monitor the progress of your baby’s development. Your obstetrician may order one or more of the following tests during your pregnancy:

  • Advanced ultrasounds
  • Alpha-fetoprotein screening
  • Blood glucose tests
  • Blood type test
  • Complete blood count test
  • Estriol test
  • Group B strep culture
  • hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) blood test
  • Infectious disease tests
  • Inhibin test
  • Maternal blood serum tests
  • Pap test
  • Pregnancy-associated plasma protein A screening
  • Ultrasound for fetal nuchal translucency​

If you have irregular test results, your doctor may want to check for chromosomal abnormalities with the following tests:

  • Amniocentesis
  • Cell-free fetal DNA screening
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

Advanced Research to Improve Prenatal Care

Loyola’s obstetrics specialists are at the leading edge of new technology and conduct research to develop innovative approaches in patient care. Current research topics include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Multifetal pregnancies
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Preterm labor
  • Tocolytic therapies

As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments. Loyola’s patients benefit from research discoveries made here; read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.

Comprehensive Prenatal Education and Services for Expectant Mothers

For the benefit of our parents-to-be, Loyola offers classes and support to provide you with information, prepare you for childbirth and parenting, learn techniques to use during labor and help you make informed decisions. You also will receive information on nutrition, exercise and rest as well as the book Journey of Birth, Journey of Love, written by Loyola nurses. 

We offer a range of classes and support programs for the various needs of expectant parents: 

  • Breastfeeding class and services — Loyola, which has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, offers lactation services and a class to explain the numerous benefits for mothers who are interested in breastfeeding. Breast milk reduces the risk of developing infections and other conditions Breastfeeding also can help you bond with your baby.
  • Cesarean birth and vaginal birth class — Whether you are planning to have a vaginal delivery, have a scheduled C-section, have had a C-section in the past or will be attempting vaginal delivery after a previous C-section, this class will help both you and your partner prepare for any outcome.
  • Childbirth preparation class — Our childbirth preparation class will explore the labor and delivery experience. We will cover relaxation, concentration and breathing techniques that will help you through the labor process.
  • Fetal Assessment Center — Our center provides expert obstetric ultrasound services, perinatal consultative services, genetic counseling, diagnostic testing and fetal heart rate testing. All assessment services are conveniently provided at the Loyola Outpatient Center. These diagnostic tests are performed and interpreted by healthcare providers with specialized training in maternal-fetal medicine. We will provide prompt and accurate service and talk with you about the results, often in the same day.
  • Genetic counseling — For parents-to-be with a baby at risk of a birth defect or an inherited disease, Loyola offers counseling and genetic testing to provide information and support. 
  • Infant care class — This class will help first-time parents prepare and will explore topics on taking care of a baby, such as feeding, diapering, bathing, crying, sleep patterns, signs of illness and safety issues.
  • Lactation services — Loyola has experienced lactation consultants to help guide new mothers learning how to breastfeed their babies. Loyola is the only academic medical center in Chicago to be named a Baby-Friendly Hospital, meaning that our medical center has been recognized for providing optimal care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.
  • Maternal-fetal medicine services — Our experienced maternal-fetal medicine specialists will help diagnose and treat any condition that may arise or affect mothers who are expecting a high-risk birth or pregnancy. They are experts at complicated pregnancies and have vast experience in complex deliveries.