Expectant mothers need to take care of their babies even before they’re born. This includes adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting checkups from a midwife, doctor, or nurse throughout the pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is what prenatal care is all about. It makes sure that you and your baby are in good shape.
Why is prenatal care important?
As mentioned, prenatal care focuses on the mother’s and the baby’s health. Besides this, other goals of prenatal care are:
- Reducing complication risks for your baby
- Lowering complications during pregnancy
- Ensuring that you don’t take any unsafe medication
- Guaranteeing that you and your baby receive proper nutrition and vitamins
A medical professional will monitor your baby’s development during prenatal care through routine testing. These checkups will help find and prevent any problems. You can also learn how you can ease any discomfort you’re having, as you have the opportunity to ask questions about your pregnancy.
What to Expect in a Doctor’s Appointment
As soon as you’ve found out you’re pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. During the first checkup, you will be tested for your blood and urine samples. The doctor will also review your medical history and ask about the symptoms you’re having.
Urine testing is done to check for bacteria, high protein levels (if you have high blood pressure or preeclampsia), and high sugar levels (if you have signs of diabetes). Meanwhile, the doctor will check your blood for blood type, blood cell count, infectious diseases (like hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV), and low iron levels/anemia.
Your doctor may advise you to take other tests depending on your background and complication risks. These tests may include:
- Pap smear to check for cervical cancer
- Pelvic exam to check for the shape and size of your uterus/womb
- Ultrasound to check for your baby’s growth and position
After your initial appointment, you’ll have to regularly see your healthcare provider for prenatal visits. Your schedule will depend on how far you are with the pregnancy and how high your risks are for complications.
Like your first checkup, during these prenatal visits, the doctor will test your urine, check your blood pressure and weight, and listen to your baby’s heartbeat. After the 20th week, they will also measure the height of your uterus.
If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, you should discuss them with your doctor. Learn more about prenatal care and how you can stay healthy during pregnancy in this infographic.