Benefits of prenatal care
About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, according to the CDC, and about 75% of expectant moms begin prenatal care early in the course of their pregnancy — sometimes during the first trimester. But alarmingly, because about 15% of pregnant women get inadequate care during pregnancy, they and their babies are at risk for some serious and potentially life-threatening complications, including:
- Gestational diabetes
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Low birthweight
- Birth defects, including brain damage, blindness, and deafness
- Problems with the placenta or umbilical cord
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
Prenatal care uses initial testing and ongoing assessments to monitor your health and your baby’s health, so your care can be tailored to your specific health needs.
Prenatal visits: What to expect
The changes you and your baby experience during pregnancy can vary — a lot — during that nine-month period. It makes sense that your prenatal care — what happens during your office visits — can also vary, depending on what trimester you’re in, your health, your baby’s development, and other factors. Overall, your visits can include:
- A review of any concerns or symptoms you might be experiencing
- Basic vital signs measurements, including your blood pressure and weight
- Measurements of your growing belly
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Ultrasounds to check birth date, gender, and fetal development
- Nutritional support
- Counseling for labor and delivery
- Genetic testing when warranted
- Special care and assessments for high-risk pregnancies
Ideally, you should have prenatal visits every month for the first seven months (28 weeks) of pregnancy, then every two weeks through week 36. From that point on, you’ll visit at least once a week until delivery.
You might need to visit us more often if you have a high-risk pregnancy or other issues that require more frequent monitoring. Try hard not to skip a visit — but if you must, call the office right away to reschedule it as soon as possible.
Give your baby a healthy start
Prenatal visits help you stay healthy, and they give your baby a good start on a healthy life, too. If you’re pregnant, your prenatal visits should begin as early in your pregnancy as possible. To schedule your prenatal visit with our team, call Dekalb Women’s Specialists or use our online form and request an appointment today.