What is prenatal care and why does it matter?
General health check-ups with your health care provider are important, especially during pregnancy as they ensure the well-being of your baby and you. This is called prenatal care and involves counselling and educating yourself about the different aspects and stages of pregnancy. During your visits, the doctor may discuss several issues with you, a few of which include a balanced diet, screening tests that you may need, physical activity, what to expect during labour and delivery, and much more.
Besides, frequent health check ups also allow you to know the progress of your child’s development. It gives your family and you a platform to talk and discuss any questions and concerns that you may have about your pregnancy, the labour, the birth of the baby, parenthood, or more. Most health care providers understand you and therefore, welcome your partner and family members during visits.
What happens on your first medical visit?
The first medical visit is designed to determine your health and allows your health care provider to find out if any risk factors might affect your pregnancy or not. For this purpose, your health care provider will perform a physical examination that will help:
- Determine the due date
- Check your medical history, as well as any medications that you may be taking
- Explore the medical history of your family members
- Determine if you have any risks related to pregnancy based on factors such as your age, health or personal and family history
- Assess your health and check for problems, if any
You most likely will also be asked about previous pregnancies, medical conditions, surgeries, and exposure to contagious diseases, if any.
Prenatal Care & How it Helps
Women who suspect that may be pregnant must get a health check done, to begin the process of prenatal care. Prenatal visits include weight checks, a physical exam, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, the health care providers may also request you to do blood tests and imaging tests. Prenatal care can prevent complications during pregnancy, and informs women about the important steps that they can take, to protect their baby and ensure a healthy pregnancy. You can also opt for health checkup packages that are offered for the care of pregnant women.
With regular prenatal care, women can:
- Reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy. They can have a healthy and safe diet and follow regular exercises as advised by the care provider. They can also avoid exposure to the harmful substances such as lead and radiation, to help reduce the risk for complications during pregnancy and ensure the baby’s well-being and development.
- Prenatal care also contributes to reducing the child’s risks for complications. Also, women are advised to cease the intake of tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy as it has shown to increase the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Health check-ups also help ensure that the medications you consume are safe and includes any treatments, if necessary.
Therefore, it is essential that you get a health check done if your pregnant, to have a safe delivery and a healthy baby.