If you find out you're pregnant, it's important to see your doctor right away. Be sure to let WellSense know, too. The sooner you start getting care, the healthier your pregnancy will be. And the sooner we know, the more we can help.
Let us know you are pregnant
WellSense helps pregnant members many in many ways, including:
- Help learning about being pregnant
- Help getting appointments with your doctor and getting to and from your doctor visits
- Prenatal vitamins – at no cost to you
- Help with quitting smoking
- Member extras, like a car seat for your new baby. (Don't wait until you have the baby to get a car seat. You can get it up to 45 days before you deliver by calling Member Services at 1-877-957-1300.)
- Sharing helpful community resources
- A WellSense care manager to help support you through your pregnancy
Once you find out you are pregnant, you need to schedule visits right away with your providers. A team of providers will care for you during and after your pregnancy. Take a look at the schedule of visits you should get during your pregnancy.
Remember to write down any questions you have and bring them to your visits.
First doctor visit (please allow 1-2 hours)
- For your first visit, you will meet with a nurse and/or social worker who will:
- Talk with you about your pregnancy and options for labor and delivery.
- Talk with you about your overall health.
- Talk with you about your past or current medical concerns.
- Arrange for you to get prenatal vitamins. These are good for your health while you are pregnant. They also may help prevent birth defects in your baby.
- Set up a visit with an obstetrician (a doctor who delivers babies; this may be an OB/GYN or a family doctor), nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner.
- Arrange for lab tests that will check your urine and blood. This is an important part of the care you get during pregnancy.
- Help you plan for a healthy pregnancy.
Meet with a social worker or outreach advocate
Within two weeks of your first visit, schedule time with a social worker or outreach advocate who will:
- Ask about where you live, and put you in touch with someone who can help if you need to find housing.
- Ask about any problems with your family, your spouse or your partner (and get you help if you need it).
- Ask about your need for child care and talk about your child care options. Remember, it is important to plan your child care needs at the start of your pregnancy.
- Put you in touch with someone at Well Sense or at your doctor's office who can help you get to and from your prenatal visits. It is important that you come to all your prenatal visits.
- Help with staying in school. If you are a student, the social worker can help you stay in school during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.
- Put you in touch with one of WellSense's community resource counselors, who may be able to get you help paying for rent or fuel, or help you get food stamps.
Meet with a nutritionist
Within two weeks of your first visit, schedule time with a nutritionist who will help you to eat right while you are pregnant. The nutritionist will talk to you about:
- How much weight you can expect to gain during your pregnancy.
- The kinds of foods you should eat to meet your needs and the needs of your baby.
- The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which can provide your family with healthy food.
The nutritionist can also direct you to a food pantry in your area where you can get certain kinds of food.
Your second doctor visit (please allow one hour)
This visit will be one or two weeks after the first one. You will meet for the first time with your obstetrician, nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner. If you are at least 12 weeks pregnant, your visit will be scheduled as soon as possible.
Your doctor will:
- Talk with you about your pregnancy.
- Give you a complete physical exam, including a pelvic exam.
- Do a pap smear and check for any infection.
- Talk to you about what will happen at your next visit.
- Talk to you about any other services that may be helpful to you.
Your follow-up visits
After your first visit with your provider, your visits will be once a month until you reach the 32nd week of pregnancy. Then you will need to see your provider every two weeks until the 36th week of pregnancy. After that, you will see your provider once a week until your baby is born.
If you can't make it to a provider visit, call the provider office to let them know. Please give at least 24 hours’ notice. They will schedule another visit for you. Any time you call or come for a visit, be sure to tell the office staff you are pregnant. Every prenatal visit is important for your health and your baby’s health.
Once your baby is born, you need to go to your postpartum visit. A postpartum visit is also called a new mom checkup.
Lab tests help make sure you are healthy. They also help make sure your baby is growing as it should. You’ll have many lab tests during your pregnancy.
These help your provider track your health and your baby's health.
You will be asked to give a urine sample at every visit. This helps make sure you have no infection and that your sugar and protein levels are normal.
Your blood pressure will be checked at every visit. High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause problems.
Some women may have problems with their genes that they could pass on to their babies. If you need one, your provider will offer you a triple screen test. This should be done when you are between 15 and 21 weeks pregnant. This test can check for any problems with your baby's nervous system. It can also tell you if your baby might have Down Syndrome, which causes mental disability.
This test checks to see if you are getting gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. It takes about one hour. Usually it will be done around weeks 26-28 of pregnancy. You may need to have it done earlier if members of your family have diabetes. You may also need it done early if you had diabetes during another pregnancy, or if you are overweight.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver. If you have Hepatitis B, there is a chance that without treatment your baby can get it from you. Your baby can be treated at birth to prevent infection in almost all cases.
This test checks to see if you have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Even without symptoms, a woman who has HIV has a 1 in 4 chance of passing it to her baby. This risk can be greatly reduced with treatment. Every pregnant woman should discuss HIV testing with her doctor.
Group B strep screening test
This test is done around weeks 36-37 of pregnancy. Your vagina and rectal areas will be checked for bacteria that could make you or your baby sick. If you have these bacteria, you will be offered antibiotics during labor.
This is a test that uses sound waves to show a picture of your unborn baby. Ultrasound usually is done between week 14 and 16 of your pregnancy in order to:
- Find out when your baby is due
- Check to see if you have bleeding or other problems
- See if your baby is growing normally
- Find the position of the placenta, which is the part of your womb that gives your baby nourishment
Ultrasound is not an x-ray and does not use radiation. It is not a sure way to find out the sex of an unborn baby, so it is not done for that purpose.
- Personal care planning by our care coordinators for low-risk pregnancies
- Personal care planning by our registered nurses for moderate- or high-risk pregnancies
- Access to a registered nurse skilled in caring for pregnant women and new babies
- Car seat for your baby – at no cost to you
- Help learning about about being pregnant
- Childbirth training
- Help getting to and from provider visits
- Help with checking eligibility and applying for WIC
- Assistance and reminder calls about postpartum care
- Help learning about preventing early labor and delivery
- Help learning about postpartum and newborn care
- Help to stop smoking (if you smoke)
- Help with drug and alcohol treatment and counseling if you need it
- Help with finding community resources like housing, legal help, and clothing
The weeks after you give birth are important for you and your baby. Even if you had an easy childbirth and are feeling great, you should see your doctor or midwife 3-8 weeks after delivery. This postpartum visit will help you continue to make healthy progress.
All moms should see their doctor or midwife between 3 and 8 weeks after delivery. During the first weeks after having your baby, your body begins to recover. You begin to adjust to not being pregnant. This is also a great time to start bonding with your baby and setting up a routine.
It may take about 6 weeks to feel like you did before your pregnancy. It could take longer if you had a C-section delivery. Visiting your provider for a postpartum check-up between 3 and 8 weeks after giving birth helps make sure your body is healing well.
If you did have a C-section, your doctor may want to see you before 3 weeks to check your stitches. You should still go back for your postpartum visit between 3 and 8 weeks after giving birth.
10 reasons to see your doctor or midwife after your baby arrives:
- Bringing a new baby home can change your life in many ways. It can be very emotional. Your doctor or midwife is the perfect person to talk to about how you’re feeling.
- With a new baby, you may have less time for yourself. At your postpartum visit, you can talk to your doctor or midwife about any help that you may need. You can also talk about the services that are available to help you. For instance, you can ask about help to stop smoking – or help staying quit if you’ve already stopped.
- Even if you have had other children, caring for a newborn is always a different experience. While you were in the hospital, you had help bathing and changing your baby. Now that you’re at home, you may have new questions about caring for your baby. Your doctor or midwife can help.
- Many moms have questions or concerns about breastfeeding. Your doctor or midwife can answer these questions.
- Even if you are breastfeeding, your monthly periods will return in the weeks after you give birth. At your postpartum check-up, your doctor or midwife will explain what to expect and answer any questions about having sex after childbirth.
- Remember, if you are not using birth control, you can become pregnant, even if you are breastfeeding. Discuss your plans for birth control and family planning with your doctor or midwife. They can help you with your options.
- Your body has gone through many changes during nine months of pregnancy, and then during delivery. During your postpartum visit, your doctor or midwife will make sure that your body is healing well.
- Your doctor or midwife will ask you how you feel after you have your baby. Many mothers feel tired and sad after giving birth. However, sometimes these feelings can worsen and go on too long. Be sure to talk about this with your doctor or midwife. It could be a sign of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can get better with treatment.
- You may have had a medical problem before your pregnancy (like asthma or diabetes). Or you may have a new one that began during your pregnancy. During your postpartum visit, your doctor or midwife will check your overall health.
- Eating right and getting exercise are very important for moms. Your doctor or midwife will help you choose the right foods and get back in shape. This will give you the energy you need to care for yourself, your baby and other family members.
Babies are often stronger than you might think, but health problems sometimes come up. Call your baby’s doctor if you see any of the signs below. Be sure to take care of your own health, too.
Call your baby’s doctor if your baby:
- Has a temperature of 100.0°F or higher (taken under the baby’s arm)
- Has fewer than six wet diapers in 24 hours
- Has a yellow color to the skin or the whites of the eyes
- Cries for a long time, or it sounds as if the cries are caused by pain
- Has diarrhea
- Refuses two feedings in a row
- Doesn't move much, or seems to lack energy
- Has pus, bleeding or a bad smell from their belly button
Call your own doctor if you have:
- Burning or pain in your breast
- Red streaks or hard lumpy areas in your breast
- Cracks or blisters, or see blood on your nipples
- A fever or chills
- Extreme tiredness or body aches, as if you had the flu
- Feelings of deep sadness or worry
- Feelings that you don’t want to take care of or be with your baby
- Feelings of being mad or like you want to hit your baby
- Pain in or around your stomach that isn’t relieved with medicine
- Vaginal discharge that has a bad odor
- A temperature of 100.0°F or higher
- Very bad headache
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Trouble keeping food down or eating food
- Pain or burning when you pee
- Redness or pain in your legs
- Feeling like you want to hurt yourself
Mayer, Gloria, R.N., and Ann Kuklierus, R.N. What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick. La Habra, CA: Institute for Healthcare Advancement, 2011. Print.
Mayer, Gloria, R.N., and Ann Kuklierus, R.N. What to Do When You’re Having a Baby. La Habra, CA: Institute for Healthcare Advancement, 2011. Print.
What is postpartum depression?
You’ve just had a baby. You know you should be excited and happy. But instead you may find yourself crying for no reason. You may have trouble dealing with your daily tasks. You feel sad, tired, and hopeless most of the time. You may even feel ashamed or guilty. But what you're going through is not your fault, and you can feel better.
Depression after childbirth
You may be more emotional and tired right after giving birth. These feelings are normal. They’re sometimes called the baby blues. These blues go away after 2 or 3 weeks. However, postpartum (meaning “after birth”) depression lasts much longer and is worse than the baby blues. It can make you feel sad and hopeless. You may also fear that your baby will be harmed and worry about being a bad mother.
What causes postpartum depression?
The exact cause of postpartum depression isn’t known. It may be due to changes in your hormones during and after childbirth. You may also be tired from caring for your baby and learning to being a mother. All these factors may make you feel depressed. In some cases, your genes may also play a role.
Depression can be treated
Your doctor will ask you about how you feel after you have your baby. If you’re feeling sad or depressed, telling your doctor is the first step toward feeling better. The good news is that there are many ways to treat postpartum depression. Your doctor can help you get the care you need.
WellSense partners with Beacon Health Strategies (Beacon) to help members with postpartum depression or other behavioral health issues. Beacon’s job is to make sure that you get the services that you need. Beacon helps you find the right doctor or therapist for your need. Then, Beacon works with these providers to decide what kind of care is best for you. Call Beacon Health Strategies at 1-855-834-5655.
Pregnancy and baby tips to your cell phone
Sign up for free pregnancy and baby tips to your cell phone. The Text4Baby service is also available in Spanish. Get free text messages on:
- Prenatal Care
- Baby Health
- Parenting and more
Diapers for new moms
Members who have delivered a baby and had a postpartum visit within 1-12 weeks after delivery can get diapers at no cost to them. Learn more.