Antenatal or prenatal care is preventive healthcare provided during pregnancy. It is important that the pregnant woman receives proper care, regular check-ups and get necessary tests done on time during pregnancy. Antenatal care is aimed at preventing potential health issues and promoting a healthy lifestyle of both mother and child throughout the course of pregnancy. The pregnancy-related information like biological changes in the mother as well as in the baby, prenatal nutrition and vitamins required. Prenatal diagnosis and screening is also very important and has proved in reducing the incidences of miscarriages, maternal death, birth defects, neonatal infections, low birth weight and other similar problems.
Antenatal care is required to obtain the due date for delivery. The health care provider will confirm the date by using ultrasound of the womb. The pregnant woman and her partner get schedules for their/her visits for subsequent check-ups. The check-ups are also important to monitor and ease any discomfort felt during the pregnancy. In antenatal care the mother is also educated about appropriate child care and nutrition and how to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation. Health care provider also helps the mother to get rid of the stress regarding the child and child birth. They also advise the mother about post natal care, immunisation and breast feeding.
Prenatal or antenatal care involves physical examination, blood tests, conversation to discuss lifestyle to adapt, letting the health care provider know about your menstrual cycle and your complete gynaecological history, any pregnancy in the past, any medication both prescription and over-the-counter ones that the mother is taking, information about alcohol, tobacco and caffeine consumption. During antenatal care, the health care provider also determines the due date of giving birth which is done by using foetal ultrasonography and a simple calculation based on your last menstrual cycle. Determining the due delivery date is important both for the mother and the health care provider. The health care provider monitors the growth of the baby, the progress of the pregnancy and the tests that need to be done during pregnancy.
During this phase, the health care professional will determine the BMI of the mother based on her height and weight. Determining BMI is important to guide the mother about the required weight during particular phases of the pregnancy. During the pregnancy, the health care provider also examines the vagina, changes in the cervix and size of the uterus for confirming the pregnancy stage. The laboratory tests that are recommended during pregnancy are checking blood type, measuring haemoglobin, checking immunity to a particular type of infections and detect if there has been an exposure to certain infections. Checking the blood type would help determine the Rhesus factor because if it is negative and that of the father is positive, special care is required. Haemoglobin measurement in the blood is important because it is the blood through which fetus receives nutrition from the mother.
During pregnancy, it is checked whether vaccination against certain infections like rubella and chickenpox is required or not and also if the mother has been exposed to certain serious infections like hepatitis B, gonorrhoea, HIV, chlamydia etc. the health care provider will also discuss about lifestyle issue if any like proper intake of nutrients, vitamins, the exercises that are good for the phase, to discuss whether or not to have sex during pregnancy etc. Pregnant women can also discuss the normal discomforts that they experience during pregnancy like swollen and tender breasts, nausea and morning sickness etc.
Any woman who wants to get pregnant and who have just got pregnant are eligible for antenatal care.
No, there are no side effects of antenatal care.
Post treatment guidelines will depend on the type of delivery done for giving birth. If it is a normal delivery then not much care is required except for avoiding cold, taking healthy food and drinks, doing light exercises etc. but if the delivery is done by a C-section, serious care needs to be taken with the help of the health care provider.
It will take at least 9 months for the complete antenatal care unless the birth is a premature one.
The price of antenatal care in India can range from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 10 lakhs.
Yes, the results are permanent.
There are no alternatives to antenatal care.
Safety: Very High
Effectiveness: Very High
Relative risk: Low
Side Effects: Very Low
Time for Recovery: Very Low
Price Range: Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 10 lakhs