Prenatal care is medical care received during pregnancy. Having early and regular prenatal care improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Itnot only aims to keep expectant moms in the best health possible, but it also benefits the unborn baby and helps promote a healthy birth.
Pre-pregnancy and prenatal care are considered the most effective ways to help keep expectant mothers and their babies healthy, and they play an essential role in reducing the number of maternal deaths, miscarriages, birth defects, and health and birth complications.
During pregnancy, your obstetrician and/or midwife will provide comprehensive prenatal care thatis personalized according to individual circumstances. Factors such as age, health, lifestyle choices, and pregnancy history will determine the type of care you receive during your pregnancy.
Regular and early prenatal care allows doctors to identify any health complications or concerns in the earliest stages, when treatment is typically most effective. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and are five times more likely to not survive when compared to those born to mothers who do receive care.In many cases, early treatment can cure – or prevent – many health problems.
Regular prenatal care visits are also an effective way to promote a healthy pregnancy and birth, and to informexpectant mothers about important steps they can take to protect their baby and give them a positive start to life,such as by following a healthy diet and lifestyle, managing existing health conditions, and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances. Visits allow the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice around their pregnancy and birth.
Regular prenatal care helps to:
Prenatal care is particularly beneficial for women who are at an increased risk of problems during pregnancy. Higher-risk pregnancies require regular obstetrical care, and depending on individual circumstances, may require specialist care. Higher-risk pregnancy includes:
The first prenatal visit is a good opportunity to ask questions and discuss any issues related to your pregnancy. You can also find out all you can about how to stay healthy during pregnancy. During the first visit, you can expect your healthcare provider to:
After the first prenatal visit, future visits will often be shorter. Your health provider will check on your health and make sure the baby is growing and developing as expected. Future visits may involve:
Regular prenatal visits, exams, and appropriate screening tests help ensure your baby is developing as expected and detect and manage any problems in their earliest stages. This means you and your baby can receive the necessary care and treatment to help avoid potential complications.
During pregnancy, you will need to have some routine tests. Some tests are suggested for all women, while other tests may be offered based on factors such as your age, ethnic background, personal or family health history, or the results of routine tests or scans you have had. Common prenatal tests include:
The frequency of prenatal visits can vary, depending on your pregnancy and personalcircumstances. Typically, prenatal visits are scheduled:
You can take care of yourself and your baby by getting early and regular prenatal care. If you know you’re pregnant, or think you might be, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
If you are pregnant and are looking for expert prenatal care, visit Dekalb Women’s Specialists Gynecological and Obstetrical Care. We provide comprehensive obstetrics care and midwifery services to ensure you receive the important care you need to keep you and your baby healthy.