Prenatal Care – The Necessary Steps

Prenatal care refers to the care and treatment a woman receives from a doctor, nurse or midwife during the period of pregnancy. Visiting your doctor regularly from early stages helps you and your baby stay healthy and happy; regular care helps the doctor detect problems early and prevent them from aggravating. 

These early care treatments are also a good time for one to learn how to ease or deal with any discomfort you may be having and gain more knowledge about future stages in the pregnancy and your baby. 

Below is a guide on the necessary steps you’ll need to take for a proper prenatal routine.

When Should You Start Prenatal Care?

It’s recommended to start one’s prenatal care even before getting pregnant. Basically, if you’re planning to get pregnant in the future, make sure to have a regular OB-Gyn who can find out your case history and recommend the necessary steps you need to start taking before having a human growing inside your belly.

If pre-pregnancy planning isn’t possible, that’s okay too. Just make sure you start it as soon as possible after you get pregnant. 

How to Plan Your Visits? 

The number of visits to your prenatal care depends upon how far along you are in your pregnancy and the number of risks associated with your pregnancy. If the number of risks is high, the doctor will probably call for check-ups more often than usual.

Commonly, the following are the requirements for prenatal checkups:

  • Once every 4-6 weeks, for 32 weeks
  • Twice every 4-6 weeks till the 37th week
  • Every week from the 37th week until you deliver.

Prenatal care also includes physical check-ups and exams to find out more about you and your baby’s health.

The First Prenatal Appointment:

Your first appointment is usually the longest as it’s then that your doctor takes yours, your partner’s and both of your family’s medical histories. The doctor gives a full checkup, usually including a physical checkup including blood and urine exams to confirm whether you’re healthy and what other guidelines you need. 

This check-up includes: 

  • A measure of height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, etc
  • Testing for the existence of STDs like syphilis, HIV, etc
  • A breast exam
  • Screening for diabetes, anemia, hepatitis B and rubella
  • Pelvic exam
  • Pap test

This is the time your doctor will talk to you about your diet, fitness and the medications you need. The most important one is folic acid which needs to be taken by every woman years before they even plan to become pregnant. 

You may want to discuss the medications you’re already taking and whether they’re safe to be taken during pregnancy. Tell your doctor about any prescription you are using and consult with them before starting a new one. 

During pregnancy, you’ll need a lot of accessories for getting through. For your maternity shopping, you can skim through the following Maternity Clothes collection.

Prenatal Care Through the Trimesters:

During your follow-up appointments, your doctor or nurse will do check-ups and ask questions to make sure your pregnancy is normal, your baby is developing properly and you and the baby are healthy. 

In the prenatal appointments through the trimesters, your doctor may: 

  • Do regular sonograms
  • Do a CVS test
  • Do an amniocentesis 

After performing these tests, your doctor or nurse may:

  • Update medical reports
  • Check your blood pressure and weight
  • Check for any problems developing inside you or your baby
  • Do urine tests
  • Listen for the sign of abnormalities in the fetus’ heartbeat
  • Measure the growth of your belly

What is a Sonogram?

A sonogram – ultrasound – is a safe and painless test to look inside your uterus and check-up on how your baby is doing. It helps find out whether the fetus is developing normally. 

Your doctor can recommend you to have multiple ultrasounds during the course of your pregnancy. It can also be used to check the sexual anatomy of the fetus. 

There are two ways to do a sonogram:

  1. Through the skin of your abdomen, the doctor applies the gel on your stomach and rubs the ultrasound equipment over your skin 
  2. Through the inside of your vagina, the doctor puts the ultrasound equipment inside your vagina.

Sonograms create high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of your reproductive organs and fetus.

With the help of a sonogram, the doctor can:

  • Estimate your due date
  • Check the position of your baby and the placenta
  • Find the weight and size of the baby
  • Check whether it’s one baby or twins etc

What is CVS?

Chorionic Villus Sampling is a procedure through which a small sample of pregnancy tissue is tested to check for genetic abnormalities. It’s usually done between the 9-12 weeks of pregnancy.

Your doctor suggests this test if you are 35 years or older in age, have a child with major birth defects or have a family history with some birth defects. First, the doctor takes an ultrasound to find your placenta and then a small needle is inserted through your belly or a small tube through your cervix, to take tiny tissues from the placenta to be tested.

The test is considered 98% accurate for detecting Down Syndrome. CVS is usually considered risk-free, but studies show that in rare cases about 1-3 women have a miscarriage after CVS. It’s your choice which genetic tests you want to get done.

What is Amniocentesis?

This test is done to examine your amniotic fluid – the fluid that surrounds and protects the fetus inside the uterus. Cells from the fetus that exist in the fluid can be tested for chromosomal defects. 

The procedure for this test includes the doctor putting a needle through your belly to take a small sample of fluid, an ultrasound is done to guide the needle. This test is performed if your family has a history of birth defects, you have a child with birth defects, your age is above 35 or your screen tests show you need more tests.

These are the basics of proper prenatal care. You can consult with your nearby specialists for where you can get the best possible prenatal care plan. If you need more information about this or any other pregnancy and delivery related concern, visit Little Angel Baby Clothes.

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