Welcome to Ask a Doctor! Every week we’ll be asking our CarePoint Health doctors some questions that we’d all like to know the answers to.
This week we have a return guest, Doctor Osbert Fernandez MD, FACOG, FAAFP. He’s one of our OBGYN specialists in Hoboken with an interest in high risk obstetrics and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. He’s answering our questions about prenatal care.
But, wait! Before you get started New Jersey Family is asking for nominations for best pediatrician. Would you mind heading over to their site to give your favorite CarePoint Health pediatrician a shout out?
Q: What is prenatal care?
A: Prenatal care describes the care the mother and baby receive during the pregnancy.
The primary purpose of prenatal care is to ensure great outcomes for both mother
and baby. The doctor will try and optimize the mother’s health and prepare her for the
pregnancy and the delivery process. The doctor will perform sonograms and blood
work to ensure a healthy baby. The office visits allow the mother time to address any
questions she may have regarding the physiological changes that are happening to her
body, as well as any questions or concerns she may have regarding the development of
Q: Why is prenatal care so important for the mother and the newborn?
A: During the office visits the doctor will screen the mother for medical problems that
can arise from pregnancy. This usually includes but is not limited to: screening for
anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, cervical cancer, infections and genetic problems
with the fetus. If a problem is identified early on, there is ample time to make corrections
and to avoid major complications during the pregnancy.
Q: When does prenatal care begin?
A: Prenatal care should start before the patient gets pregnant. The idea is to optimize
the patient’s health prior to getting pregnant. It is an opportunity to supplement one’s
diet (with folic acid, vitamins, DHA), establish healthy habits (such as exercise) and quit
any toxic habits (such as smoking and alcohol consumption).
Q: What are the most essential things an expectant mother can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy?
A: The first step would be to optimize a healthy lifestyle: make the necessary dietary
changes, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and meet with your doctor before you get
pregnant to address any underlying problems. Start prenatal care once your pregnancy
test is positive.
Q: How often should I see a doctor during pregnancy?
A: Most patients will see their doctor 10-12 times during the pregnancy. In the beginning
of the pregnancy you should see your doctor every 4 weeks. After 28 weeks of
pregnancy the patient should see the doctor twice a month until 36 weeks. After 36
weeks the visits should occur weekly. If there are factors complicating the pregnancy
more visits may be required.
Q: Where can I find more information?
Dr. Fernandez, MD, FACOG, FAAFP is a graduate of St. George’s University School of
Medicine. He completed his OB/GYN residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical
Center in New York City where he served as Chief Resident in 2003. He is dual board
certified in Family Practice and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Fernandez is an
Attending Physician with Carepoint Medical Group, he currently serves as Associate
Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hoboken University Medical
Center and he is an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York Medical College in the
Department of Family Medicine.
Dr. Fernandez has special interest in high risk obstetrics and minimally invasive
gynecological surgery. He is certified by the North American Menopause Society
(NAMS) for his commitment to menopausal patients. He is currently the Principal
Investigator for the Violet Petal Study, a phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of severe
endometriosis. He has won various teaching awards, and in 2003 he was awarded a
Humanitarian Award for his dedication to women’s health. Dr Fernandez is fluent in