What is Prenatal care?
It is crucial for a woman who is on her way to becoming a mother to pay special attention to her health. Health care offered to a pregnant woman is also known as prenatal care or antenatal care. It is a very important phase in a woman's life, so go for regular prenatal checkups as they go a long way in reducing risks of complications during pregnancy and child birth. This, in turn, increases the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Contrary to popular belief, prenatal care does not begin when a woman is told that she is pregnant. Prenatal care should ideally be started at least three months before you try to conceive a child. This prepares your body and mind for the changes that pregnancy will bring. Some healthy habits to follow during this period include:
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will need to visit the doctor regularly for checkups.
Prenatal checkups are meant to keep an eye on your health and the health of your baby. In most cases, you will be asked to come in every month for the first two trimesters and every two weeks during the seventh and eighth month of your pregnancy. During the ninth month, your doctor may want to see you once a week until the delivery. In cases where a pregnancy is considered high risk because of existing medical conditions, the age of the mother or any other factors, the doctor may ask a for more frequent checkups.
A prenatal checkup involves a physical examination, tests, screenings and dietary consultations. Some of the common tests include blood tests to check for HIV, the mother’s blood type and anemia. Your blood pressure will also be monitored. When it comes to the baby’s health, determining the rate at which the baby is growing and heart rate are most important. In the later stages of your pregnancy, the position of the baby will also be noted. It is important to not skip these checkups even if you are feeling fine.
Keep your doctor informed about any changes you may notice in your health. Do not take any medication without consulting your doctor even if it is for something as simple as a cold. Do not feel shy about talking to your doctor and ask him or her anything you would like to about your pregnancy and childbirth. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.