Obstetrics 

When you’re expecting, you want care that gives your baby the best start in life. Trust Essentia Health to help you and your little one stay as safe, healthy, and as comfortable as possible before, during, and after birth.

Choosing a Prenatal Care Provider

Get maternity care that fits your needs and preferences. Learn about your options for pregnancy and birth services at Essentia Health:

Family-Centered Maternity Care

From your first prenatal appointment through your labor and delivery, enjoy care that’s tailored to you. Expect your care team to:

  • Listen to you and answer your questions
  • Respect your preferences, values, traditions, and lifestyle
  • Follow your birth plan as closely as possible
  • Provide care that supports breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding
  • Put you and your baby’s health and safety first

Conditions & Treatments

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.

Conditions

Birthing Centers

Find a welcoming environment, expert doctors, and knowledgeable, supportive nurses at an Essentia hospital in your community. Learn about our birthing centers.

Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)

Gain peace of mind when you choose a birthing center with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These special nurseries care for babies that arrive too early or need extra medical attention. Learn about Essentia’s NICUs.

Postpartum Care & Support

In the weeks and months after your baby is born, get care and support from your OB, midwife, or primary care provider. Count on us to help you:

  • Recover from childbirth
  • Adjust to life as a new parent
  • Identify and get help for postpartum depression (PPD)

Medical Insight - Postpartum Depression Video Transcript

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Medical Insight.

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TRACY BRIGGS: As Nicole holds her baby daughter Katherine, born just three hours ago, she says she's both tired and happy. This is her second child so she knows firsthand the days to follow will involve late nights, lots of changes, and little sleep.

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New parents in a hospital room speaking to health care provider.

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Her doctor, Caitlin Pandolfo, an OBGYN at Essentia Health in Fargo, says all of that can lead to a bout with the baby blues, a few days of post birth sadness that Pandolfo describes as very normal. But she says some women won't have those feelings go away and will experience a much more serious postpartum depression. DR. CAITLIN PANDOLFO: Postpartum depression is that severe depression that last two weeks after, and really is disabling. A lot of women find that they either can't take care of themselves, they have no motivation to get out of bed, you're fatigued, you're crying all the time. TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Pandolfo says approximately one in seven women suffer from it, but few women talk about it because of the existing stigma concerning depression. DR. CAITLIN PANDOLFO: Here in the Midwest, everybody is stoic and we're all fine. And nobody's going to complain about it, but it's still something they need to tell us about so we can help them. TRACY BRIGGS: Women who suffer from postpartum depression can be treated with medication, which has been proven safe during both pregnancy and breastfeeding. Other women will find it helpful to talk to a counselor. Dr. Pandolfo says while they don't know exactly what causes postpartum depression, there are a few risk factors. Postpartum depression tends to happen more to younger women, women with multiple children, women who have more stress in their lives, and women who might have less social and financial support. Dr. Pandalfo also says postpartum depression can last up to a year and can affect men. She says while some women have guilt over what they're feeling, they absolutely need to talk to their doctors to get help. DR. CAITLIN PANDOLFO: If you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your baby. And so you should be number one in that postpartum period. TRACY BRIGGS: With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

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Essentia Health logo. Text, Medical Insight.

Awkward Questions Answered

Get your awkward questions answered without having to ask. In the video below we answer the most common awkward questions asked by our obstetrics and gynecology patients.

Obstetrics and Gynecology: Awkward Questions Answered: - Essentia Health

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Is sex supposed to be painful in menopause? Dr. Andrea Lays, O-B G-Y-N physician. A brown-haired woman in glasses and a white coat.

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DR. ANDREA LAYS: Is sex supposed to be painful in menopause? Wow. Is that ever a common question? The answer is it's very common. But no, there are definitely things we can do to make sex more comfortable, despite being in menopause. One of the most common treatments is to replenish the vagina with estrogen in the form of a cream or a tablet or some kind of insert. That is definitely the most successful therapy, but there are other alternatives, which are nonprescription.

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Text, Is it normal to leak urine when I cough or sneeze?

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80% of women will lake urine when they cough or sneeze. Again, a very common problem. There are many treatments available. The most common treatment would be to use something called a pessary, which is a little plastic device that you place in your vagina and can support the urethra. There is also pelvic floor physical therapy available to strengthen those pelvic floor muscles. And finally, there are surgeries available to help treat leaking urine with cough or sneeze.

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Text, I am scared to get a pap test. Is that normal?

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Many women are scared to have a pap test done, especially when it's their first test. A pap test is a little Q-tip swab of the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus in the vagina. That Q-tip swab is looked at underneath a microscope to see if there's any precancerous cells or abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer in the future. The pap test itself is a very quick and easy procedure. But it can be very daunting for some. In seeing a provider who performs these tests, it's important to make sure you ask your questions prior to the exam and to feel comfortable with your provider. We all work very hard to make sure that you have a very comfortable and easy experience with us.

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Text, I am afraid to have sex after having my baby. Is that normal?

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Many women are scared to have sex after having a baby. It's important that you realize that while your body may feel different, it is still safe to have sex after having a baby. You won't harm any tissues or injure anything. A lot of times, one of the biggest issues is just finding time outside of taking care of the baby. If you have questions on this topic, it's very important to bring that up with your obstetric provider. We are absolutely happy to help you deal with this topic.

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Text, What can I expect when it comes to menopause?

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All women will go through menopause at some point in their life. And that journey can be very challenging for some and very easy for others. The most common symptoms of menopause are starting to feel some hot flushes or having night sweats, where you wake up and you're just sweating through your jammies or into the sheets. Another common symptom, as you enter the menopause time, is to have very irregular periods. Sometimes you can skip your period for several months, but then when you do get a period, it can be very heavy in the amount of flow you have and can be very challenging to deal with. The overall menopause transition, on average, lasts about four years, finally ending in a point where women stop having periods for a time period of about one year. After stopping menses, the hot flashes and night sweats typically start to go away. But for some women, they can persist and there's definitely treatment available to help deal with those. The most common treatment that we use for treatment of hot flushes and night sweats is hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone, either in a pill, a cream, all sorts of different delivery methods, but there's also other medications, such as Venlafaxine, which is originally designed as an antidepressant. There's some over-the-counter remedies as well, such as Black Cohosh or Evening Primrose. Another thing that we use is a lot of lifestyle modifications, being sure to wear cotton underwear, cotton clothing, dress in layers, so that you can peel off that sweater when you're starting to get a hot flash, keeping fans around you or having your bed be next to a window. Those are other things that can help you get through this time.

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.

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