Materity Care - Prenatal Appointments, Birth and Postpartum
Our midwives make the difference
Any woman who has birthed a baby with us will confirm: our midwives take the time to listen and understand your thoughts and perspective. In addition to embracing a sense of empowerment, you’ll receive comprehensive prenatal care which includes lab work, ultrasounds and referrals for additional consultations (if needed).
At Alaska Family Health & Birth Center, our main focus is supporting and educating you to make the healthiest choices for you and your baby. From the time you first contact us for your consultation, you will find that midwifery care is unique and personalized. We will do everything we can, with you as our partner, to ensure your and your baby's health throughout your pregnancy.
Prenatal care is so much more than an itemized checklist of exams and testing. Our maternity care is structured to help build confidence through knowledge, educating and empowering you to trust your body's natural instincts. Regular prenatal care visits can start as early as 6-8 weeks. We encourage you to start your care when early fetal development occurs. We are here to assist you in achieving your best start possible.
What happens at the first appointment?
Your first appointment may take up to 1-1/2 hours, and during that first visit your midwife will:
- Answer your questions, review the information that you have entered into your electronic health record
- Provide information on nutrition, informed consent, and information leading up to upcoming prenatal and genetic screenings
- Labwork including blood draws and cultures
- Discuss your course of care and schedule an ultrasound, if appropriate, with one of our CNMs
- Refer you to a doctor when needed
What happens at the routine prenatal visits that follow?
During the first 28 weeks of pregnancy you will meet with your midwife every 3-4 weeks. After 28 weeks you will see her every two weeks then for the last weeks of your pregnancy you will see her weekly. During these appointments your midwife will:
- Assess your baby’s well-being
- Labwork including blood draws and cultures
- Determine the position and presentation of the baby (when he or she is big enough to do so.)
- Assess your overall well-being and discuss any concerns or stresses you may be experiencing
- Continued evaluation of nutrition
- Keep you informed of additional educational opportunities including the 34 week teaching visit, the group prenatal classes and the childbirth education class
- Suggest resources that may be relevant or of interest to you
Adjusting to the arrival of a newborn is a very important time in your family’s life — equally as important as the preparation for and the celebration of the birth itself. Something that sets AFH&BC apart from standard postpartum care is our regular postpartum visits that are for both mother and baby. Part of our commitment to the midwifery model of care includes seeing mother/baby as a healthy unit in both pregnancy and postpartum.
The midwives of Alaska Family Health & Birth Center provide you with continued care and support immediately after your baby’s arrival. New mothers appreciate the convenience and comfort of a home visit, along with attentive and personalized support for breastfeeding. We also provide newborn metabolic, newborn congenital heart defect and hearing screenings, footprints and birth announcements.
Whether you deliver your baby at the birth center or at home, your midwife visits you between 24-36 hours to follow-up on how you are recovering and check on how your newborn is adjusting to his or her new environment.
In our postpartum visits in the clinic we reserve 1 hour appointments to be able to check in with both mother and baby and assess how you are doing together. We normally schedule visits in the clinic at 1, 2, and 4 weeks after birth for mother and baby. We see mother's additionally at 6 and 8 weeks for the final postpartum recovery visits and assistance with family planning and birth control. Additional visits are always available and given a priority if concerns arise.
Home visits especially for you and baby
A home visit between 24 -36 hours after childbirth supports your recovery and breastfeeding efforts.
During this home visit, your midwife:
- assesses how you and your baby are doing overall
- ensures your baby is nursing properly
- determines if you need extra assistance or support with your recovery and/or breastfeeding
- performs metabolic and congenital heart defect screenings (mandated by law)
- schedules appointments with lactation consultants or doctors (if needed)
- offers additional home visits as needed
Our objective is to assure you that you have all the support and assistance you need to recover and properly care for your baby.
Not only is breastfeeding a loving way to bond with your newborn, breast milk offers the ultimate nutritional support. Nursing your baby is completely natural and reinforces your body’s motherly instinct to nurture.
We offer a regular breastfeeding classes here at the birth center and also recommend a monthly breastfeeding class led by a public health nurse and lactation consultant at Tanana Valley Clinic.
Immediately after birth, your midwife supports your breastfeeding success by:
- letting you experience undisturbed skin-to-skin contact between you and baby
- showing you comfortable nursing positions
- creating an optimal latch
- reinforcing baby-led timing for nursing
Your midwife is a guide and support system — you can contact her anytime for additional answers or assistance.
Free Pregnancy Testing
Do you think you might be pregnant? Let us tell you — quickly, confidentially and free of charge.
Alaska Family Health & Birth Center will give you a FREE pregnancy test. Just come in during our regular business hours (9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday through Thursday) or schedule an appointment by calling 907-456-3719.
We also provide the “Pregnancy Verification Form” for:
- Denali Kid Care (we also have the application forms for this program)
- Women, Infant & Children (WIC) Supplementary Food Program at Resource Center for Parents and Children in Fairbanks
A strong, healthy mother grows a strong, healthy baby! Good nutrition is vital during your pregnancy — and beyond — to ensure that you are absorbing the proper types and amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.
You will learn how to develop and maintain healthy eating habits that will provide important iron-rich blood during pregnancy. First, your midwife will review your current nutritional habits and offer sound advice on simple (and tasty) ways to improve them.
You will discover the importance of eating protein- and iron-rich foods, vegetables, and ‘good’ carbohydrates (whole grains, fresh fruits and more) and the positive effects it will have on your growing baby. You also will receive information on vitamins and nutritional supplements. We encourage you to participate in our group class on nutrition.
We believe that balance and consistency is key, and will continue to monitor and refine your nutritional goals throughout your pregnancy.