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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Melissa R. Stoffel, D.O.

​Melissa R. Stoffel, D.O.​
Obstetrician/gynecologist
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Wausau and Weston Centers

Question: I’m expecting my first child. Why do I need prenatal care?​

Prenatal care helps keep you and your baby healthy.

Nationally, babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.

We want to find health issues early so we can address them more effectively.

The first exam is quite thorough to establish a baseline and provide prenatal advice, but if all is going well, most subsequent exams can be quicker.

We want to make sure the mother is getting plenty of appropriate exercise, a healthy diet, and prenatal vitamins with folic acid included.

Your OB/GYN or primary care doctor will ask many questions about current or previous health conditions because none of us want to be surprised with a sudden revelation just before birth.

One of the things that is really disturbing me is the growing number of pregnant women who smoke and/or take controlled substances.

Their babies are being born with cravings for nicotine and meth; these babies are also smaller, less healthy overall and crankier as a result of these drugs.

We also see many women who are obese, which increases their likelihood to have complications from childbirth.

If you’re pregnant, ladies, please take care of yourselves as you prepare to bring another human into the world!


Marshfield Clinic provides Obstetrics & Gynecology​ in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location. ​