Prenatal Care: Care for your baby before they’re born
April 12, 2021
A healthy pregnancy promotes a healthy birth. Early and regular pregnancy care increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy. This care involves preconception care (pre-pregnancy), prenatal care (during pregnancy) and postpartum care (after birth).
Prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, involves treatments for a healthy pre pregnancy, pregnancy, labour and delivery for both the pregnant person and the baby. The first antenatal visit can be scheduled as soon as the pregnant person suspects pregnancy.
Babies of pregnant people who did not avail consistent prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to have fatal health issues than those babies who are born to pregnant persons who had gotten care during their pregnancy.
Why are Prenatal Care checkups important?
During prenatal care checkups, the doctor, nurse or the midwife will monitor the development of the baby or fetus and perform routine testing to help find and prevent possible health issues or pregnancy complications. During these checkups, the pregnant person can also ask as many questions as they want and continue on their journey of pregnancy with a lot of clarity.
Many of the health issues that affect babies can be prevented or at least managed if caught early. Doctors have the chance of spotting health issues early when they are able to examine the pregnant person regularly. Early detection leads to an early diagnosis which might help the doctors in coming up with a proper treatment plan.
Getting into a prenatal care schedule can, essentially, help prevent complications and inform the pregnant person about the steps that they need to take in order to protect their baby and to enable a healthy pregnancy.
Preconception check ups are also of utmost importance for a healthy pregnancy. From the time the pregnant person and their partner begin to try for conception, there are some health tips that the pregnant person could follow:
- Quit smoking and alcohol assumption
- Folic acid supplement consumption
- Doctor appointments to discuss health condition
- Avoid contact with toxic chemicals
What do you need to know for the first antenatal visit?
- The first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), so that the care provider can schedule your due date
- Health conditions that you are vulnerable to, or has, for the care provider to provide the best care for you.
- The medications that you regularly consume so that the care provider can analyse the harm that the medications can/may have on your pregnancy.
- Give your care provider complete details of your pregnancy history for them to be able to analyse and predict the kind of complications that you might face.
- Your history with drugs, alcohol and smoking has to be made clear to your care provider.
- The amount of stress that you are constantly under due to work or at home and your safety at home and work has to be discussed with your care provider.
What are the Prenatal tests that your doctor would recommend?
Your doctors would recommend a couple of prenatal tests during your prenatal care visits to check your and your baby’s health. At your first prenatal care visit, your doctor will use these tests to monitor a number of things like:
- Your blood type and Rh factor
- Immunity against various diseases
Throughout your prenatal care visits, your care provider will suggest quite a few other tests as well. A few of these tests are recommended to all pregnant people, such as tests for diabetes, down syndrome and HIV.
A few are recommended based on your:
- Personal or family medical history
- Results of routine tests
Some of the tests recommended during prenatal care visits are screening tests. They’re used to detect risks or signs of possible medical issues in you or the baby. The two main methods in prenatal care for doctors to detect genetic disorders in your baby are chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.
In chorionic villus sampling, a small sample of your placenta tissue is taken from the uterus and sent to the lab for testing. In amniocentesis, a sample of the amniotic fluid (the fluid that is present surrounding the baby) is taken from your uterus for testing.