Prenatal care is the medical care a woman receives from the moment she finds out she is pregnant until the moment of birth. It can be a time of rollercoaster emotions especially during her first pregnancy. This period usually does not pass without some confusion due to the huge amount of sometimes contradicting information out there. There are also feelings of pleasure, fear and being generally overwhelmed.
The importance of prenatal care
Prenatal care is an essential form of medical care you should receive during pregnancy! Being Pregnant is one of the most beautiful experiences women go through. Nothing tops a mother to be, smiling watching her baby grow and there is no feeling quite as sensational as your baby kicking you for the first time. To make sure this experience is everything it should be prenatal care is a necessity for mother and child. It allows your doctor to monitor your health and that of the baby especially if you have a complicated medical history so you can reach the best possible outcome and deliver a healthy baby.
When should you have your first prenatal care appointment?
Once a woman knows she is pregnant, she should make an appointment to see her doctor. The doctor will ask you several questions, including details about:
- Neurological history and Previous pregnancies.
- Personal and family medical history.
- Medications usage including prescription and over-the-counter medications or supplements.
- Lifestyle habits including tobacco, alcohol and caffeine use.
- Menstrual delay or interruption that continues for months.
- Morning sickness: Immediately after waking up the mother feels nausea, dizziness and a strong desire to vomit. These symptoms usually occur during the first trimester (first three months) but are variable and in some cases stay throughout pregnancy.
- Breast changes, especially during the first trimester the mother to be feels they are painful and congested. They grow become rigid and the area around the nipple becomes darker.
- The cervix turns bluish where the normal color tends to be bluish pink this is due to the increased blood flow to the entire pelvic area.
- Frequent urination as a result of the pressure of the uterus on the base of the bladder below it.
- The mother to be experiences the sensation of her baby moving at around16 to 20 weeks. Many claim to feel it earlier but those movements are usually due to the presence of gases in the intestines.
- Skin discoloration and dark spots in various degrees may appear mainly in the face and in the middle in the middle of the abdomen.
Pregnant women should do some simple prenatal tests for the health benefit of both her and her baby
3D/4D ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce images of the fetus while inside the uterus. Fetal ultrasound scans help your healthcare provider assess your baby's development and monitor your pregnancy. In some cases, fetal ultrasound is used to assess potential problems or help confirm a diagnosis. Ultrasound scans are usually performed during the first trimester to confirm your pregnancy and estimate how long you have been pregnant. If your pregnancy continues without complications, the following ultrasound is usually performed during the second three-month period, when the anatomical details are visible. If a problem is suspected, follow-up ultrasound scans or additional imaging tests, such as MRI, may be recommended.
2- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
It is a prenatal test where a sample of placental chorionic villus is taken for testing. The sample can be taken through the cervix or abdominal wall. This sample is genetically tested for an array of genetic diseases.
Amniocentesis is a test performed during pregnancy, the test was originally developed to help determine the sex of the fetus but now a wider array of chromosomal and genetic tests could be performed depending on a diagnosis a doctor might suspect after ultrasound sonography or the patient’s medical history or that of the family.
The purpose of prenatal checkup
The purpose of prenatal checkups during pregnancy is to make sure the expecting mother and her baby are healthy and remain so.
Being pregnant puts a woman’s body under tremendous strains in different ways, prenatal care makes sure this is discovered on time and properly monitored to reduce complications that could compromise the mother and baby’s lives and avoid abortion and premature births.
Prenatal care guidelines
Bedaya Hospital has developed a progressive guideline for prenatal care to ensure your life and that of your future baby are as safe as they could be.
1- Nutrition during pregnancy!
Women that are pregnant must consume food rich in nutrients in order to meet her and the baby’s physiological needs. The unborn child gets its nutrients from his mother’s blood, if her diet is not balanced to meet her needs, physiologically her body is forced to equip her unborn child with nutrients by auto-consumption of what is stored in her tissues. If this auto consumption is not compensated, it may compromise the mother’s health and the birth of a vulnerable child exposed to various diseases such as congenital dysentery, anemia and other congenital diseases. The mother to be’s diet must therefore contain all the required nutrients. She is advised a balanced diet containing meat. fish, dairy fruits, vegetables and many liquids (preferably not containing sugar and conservatives).
2- Rest and sleep
The mother to be should sleep well and get enough rest. She needs a nap of one to two hours in the afternoon and a good night’s sleep of at least 8 hours at night.
3- Exercising during pregnancy
Pregnant women need a short period of time in the outdoors daily (around an hour). This is to breathe in fresh air and do some light exercising. Recreational walking or swimming are recommended and so are simple pelvic and abdominal muscle exercises to facilitate the delivery process. Avoid violent sports.
4- Avoid High blood pressure during pregnancy
5 to 10 percent of pregnant women develop hypertension this is called gestational hypertension if it developed in pregnancy and pathological hypertension if it was a preexisting condition of the mother. Both forms could develop into preeclampsia (formerly toxemia) and more severely eclampsia. Noticing the rising blood pressure and the accompanying albuminuria and managing accordingly is an important part of prenatal care. Hypertension and developing preeclampsia has a genetic factor. Avoid high blood pressure during pregnancy by minimizing salt intake and stress.
5- Controlling blood sugar
A woman who develops elevated sugar levels in blood during pregnancy a condition called gestational diabetes, usually has a first-degree relative with diabetes, or is obese. Unfortunately, she has a higher risk to become diabetic in the future.
Avoid gestational diabetes;
- Reduce dietary intake of sugar.
- Exercise and increase movement
- Consult your doctor at your pregnancy follow ups, especially if you have suffered from gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.