Get high-quality, personalized maternity care when you choose Essentia Health obstetricians near you in Minnesota, North Dakota, or Wisconsin.

What’s an Obstetrician?

An obstetrician, or OB, is a doctor with advanced training in caring for women during pregnancy, labor, and birth. That means they have the knowledge and experience to:

  • Care for all types of pregnancies, including high-risk pregnancies
  • Manage complications, such as preeclampsia
  • Use special tools or procedures to assist with vaginal deliveries
  • Deliver babies by cesarean section, or C-section

Your First Prenatal Visit

Call to schedule your first prenatal appointment as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test. Depending on your provider and your unique needs, your first appointment may happen anytime between weeks eight to 12 of your pregnancy.

Prenatal Education

During your first visit, you’ll see a registered nurse (RN), physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP) for prenatal education. Learn about topics such as:

Regular Prenatal Check-Ups

Protect you and your baby’s health with regular prenatal care. Your doctor will tell you how often to visit. When you see your OB regularly, he or she can detect—and treat—problems early. During your appointments, your care team may:

  • Check your blood pressure
  • Measure your weight gain
  • Look for swelling in your hands and feet
  • Monitor your baby’s growth and position
  • Check your baby’s heart rate
  • Do prenatal tests
  • Discuss your questions or concerns

Prenatal Tests

Expect routine prenatal tests during your pregnancy. You may also have the option to take some genetic tests. Talk to your doctor about the benefits, risks, and limitations of each test. Common tests include:

  • Blood tests – Confirm pregnancy; determine your blood type and Rh (rhesus) factor; check for anemia; detect certain viruses, infections, and immunity; and more
  • First-trimester screening – Uses a finger-stick blood test and an ultrasound to evaluate your baby’s risk of developing specific chromosomal abnormalities, including Down’s Syndrome
  • Amniocentesis – Detects chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects, and genetic disorders by examining amniotic fluid
  • Ultrasound anatomy scan – Checks your baby’s development and helps determine your due date
  • Glucose screening and glucose tolerance tests – Reveals your blood sugar level to detect gestational diabetes

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

If you’re interested in planning for a vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you understand whether VBAC is safe for you and your baby. You’ll also discuss the advantages and risks of VBAC, so you can make an informed choice about your options for childbirth.

Patient Story

When Amy Gundlach was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, she was told it would be difficult for her to have children. Thanks to the compassionate care of her obstetrician at Essentia Health she is now a mother to three happy and healthy children.

Like Nowhere Else: Amy's Story – Essentia Health Video Transcript

A man, woman, two children, and a baby sit together on a bench in a grassy area.

AMY GUNDLACH: My name is Amy Gundlach.

Amy kisses a child she's holding on the forehead.

My husband and I moved to the Brainerd Lakes area about six years ago.

A closer view of Amy as she speaks to the camera.

When I found out that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, I was told that it would likely be difficult to have children because of the multiple cysts on my ovaries.

She pushes a swing forward as her kids swing on a swing set.

Previously, where I had kind of jumped around with doctors, I never really had that connection with someone. And to hear that it would be a struggle to get pregnant was really kind of crushing because I'd always just wanted to be a mother.

A doctor in scrubs speaks to Amy in a medical office.

I, through a recommendation of a coworker, was told about Dr. Crane and how great she is with patients. So I made an appointment with her. And she really helped me through some of those struggles. DR. CRANE: We talked through her concerns. And I made some recommendations. And her being a very motivated, healthy person, she followed those recommendations. And she did great. AMY GUNDLACH: Having that connection, where I feel like I could open up and would not be judged by her, and that she would help me through, was very important. And within about nine months of starting with her and making some lifestyle changes, we were able to get pregnant with our first child.

Amy and her husband hold their baby from a hospital bed. Her husband is wearing a surgical cap and has a face mask draped around his neck. Amy has an IV taped to her hand and is wearing a hospital gown. The baby is wearing a hat and is wrapped in a blanket.

The first time I held my daughter was very, very emotional.

Amy and her husband sit on a bench together with their baby held up between them. They each kiss the baby's head.

DR. CRANE: This was a really rewarding story. Not all patients are able to follow the plan and have as much success as Amy did.

Amy and the kids with Dr. Crane in a patient room.

They've been a great family to take care of.

Amy and her family sit on a hospital bed.

AMY GUNDLACH: I really felt like I came to the right place because with each pregnancy and each delivery, I had fantastic experiences with the whole OB team. And they remembered me and remembered our family, and so that made me really feel like I was at home. And was very comfortable in what can be a really scary and stressful and overwhelming time.

The family sits together on a bench in a grassy area.

For being a mother of three children under the age of five right now is very busy and exciting.

The kids play.

Britta, who is four, Soren who is two, and then Anya, who is three months old.

Two kids in an outdoor playhouse.

There's a lot of love, but there's also a lot of craziness that happens.

The family plays at a swing set in a park.

But our lives are really full. And we're just so grateful that everything worked out and that we have this beautiful family.

The family walks on a sidewalk. The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.


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