Why Is Prenatal Care Important?
Prenatal care is care that a woman gets during pregnancy. Early and regular checkups for prenatal care can help moms-to-be — and their babies to stay healthy. Regular care can help doctors find and deal with any problems as early as possible.
How To Find Prenatal Care?
Pregnant women can be cared for by:
obstetricians: They are specialist in pregnancy and childbirth
obstetricians/gynaecologists (OB/GYNs): These doctors are specialists in pregnancy and childbirth, and also care for women’s health.
certified nurse-midwife: Nurses who are an advanced practice nurse specialized in women’s health care, which includes prenatal care, labour and delivery, and postpartum care during pregnancies without complications.
Any of these health care providers can be good choices if you’re expecting and avoiding chances of problems with your pregnancy and delivery.
Routine checkups and Tests
You should schedule your first checkup during the starting weeks of your pregnancy, or when you miss your period and it is 2 to 4 weeks late. Most health care providers do not schedule the first visit before the 8th week of pregnancy unless there is any problem.
If you’re healthy and no complications, you can see your healthcare provider:
- Visit every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy
- then, followed by every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
- then, visit once a week until delivery
While doing the checkup, weight and blood pressure are recorded. They also measure the size and shape of your uterus, at the start of 22nd week, to know the normal growth and development of your uterus.
Glucose screening is done at 12th week for women who are at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes. Following are the women who are at risk of developing gestational diabetes:
- Women who had a baby previously that weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms)
- Women with a family history of diabetes
- Women who are obese
- Prenatal Tests
Many parents-to-be have prenatal tests which can help health care providers find things like any birth defect or a chromosomal issue in the fetus. These tests are to be done in the first, second, and third trimesters.
Prenatal tests are screening tests that can reveal the problem.
Other conditions which come with pregnancy include:
Gestational diabetes: This condition occurs after the first trimester. In this case, a problem with insulin rises which leads to a high level of sugar.
It is also called Toxemia. This happens after the sixth month, which causes high blood pressure, oedema (it is a condition where inside a fluid buildup in body tissues that cause swelling of the face, hands, and feet, ), and traces of protein are seen in the urine.
There is the incompatibility of the Rh factor between mother and foetus. Rh-negative mother/Rh-positive fetus. A simple blood test can help to determine the Rh factor. It happens when you are Rh-negative and your baby is Rh-positive, this leads to the entry of baby’s blood cells into your bloodstream. This can cause the production of antibodies in your body that can pass into the fetus’ bloodstream and destroy red blood cells of the fetus.
Weight Gain and Diet
Pregnant women think about weight gain. Generally, women with normal body weight gain about 25–35 pounds. Women with overweight, weight gain should be closer to 15–25 pounds. Underweight women should gain around 28–40 pounds.
Physical Changes in Pregnancy
Following are the changes seen during pregnancy can cause a number of uncomfortable (which are not serious) changes:
- nausea and vomiting, these changes happen early in the pregnancy
- Oedema and leg swelling
- varicose veins seen in the legs and the area surrounding the vaginal opening
- constipation and heartburn
- backache, tiredness