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What is Prenatal Care?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2018
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Prenatal care refers to the medical treatment and health care given to a woman while she is pregnant. By receiving prompt and attentive prenatal care, mothers can increase their chances of an easier pregnancy and healthy baby. This care is considered vital by many doctors, as it can help identify any potential health issues with the growing fetus and mother.

Many doctors recommend beginning prenatal health care as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed. Early steps may include diet planning and vitamins to ensure that the baby and mother are receiving proper nutrition, as well as general exams and tests to check on overall health and identify any potential risk factors. These tests will need to be completed quickly to identify any issues or potential problems, and often include blood work, a pelvic exam, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and a complete physical.

The first prenatal visit is a great time to ask any questions about the pregnancy process. A knowledgeable doctor will be able to explain likely symptoms, give advice about diet and foods to avoid, and caution the patient about any current behaviors that could lead to complications, such as smoking or drug use. When choosing a doctor for pre-birth care, be certain to look for someone that is attentive and available for any questions and concerns. This is an important process, so don't be afraid to be choosy when it comes to choosing a prenatal physician.

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After determining the likely due date, the doctor may set up a series of future visits at carefully scheduled times to monitor the progress of the pregnancy. Attending these visits is extremely important to the health of both mother and child. Certain conditions may be apparent at specific stages of development, and may be treated or better managed if caught immediately. These future visits can also be quite exciting, as family members can monitor the growth of the baby through heart-monitoring and sonogram pictures.

During a prenatal appointment, doctors may recommend vitamin supplements, nutrition options, and healthy exercise. While weight gain is a natural part of any pregnancy, maintaining a healthy weight can be vital to the health of both mother and child. Following diet recommendations and undertaking safe levels of light exercise is frequently recommended during the pregnancy as a means of ensuring proper nutrition and preventing complications.

Many experts believe the most important benefit of prenatal care is the ability to identify emerging complications through careful monitoring. Many fetal problems can be treated and even corrected during pregnancy if a mother is receiving proper care. Even if a complication cannot be handled until birth, good health care can ensure that the doctors are prepared and ready to take necessary action as soon as the baby is born. By receiving prenatal health care, a mother can boost the chances of having a healthy baby, even if problems do occur.

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Discuss this Article

anon347171
Post 5

Prenatal care is so important.

subway11
Post 4

BrickBack- That is so true and I wanted to add that attending a prenatal class might help to ease any anxiety you may have about delivering your first baby.

They will offer breathing techniques that will help you manage the pain and can give other options regarding your delivery.

You might also want to try some Hypnobirthing tapes. These tapes offer a form of hypnosis for the pregnant women that allow her to relax during her delivery.

There are classes that teach this method of relaxation and I highly recommend it. I used the tapes and it helped me relax a little during the end of my pregnancy.

BrickBack
Post 3

Sunny27 - I agree. Regular exercise and taking prenatal care vitamins will also boost your energy level.

When you’re pregnant you will feel tired and this can help you feel better. The vitamins are really important for the baby because many women during pregnancy suffer from anemia and other vitamin deficiencies so it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet as well so that you can get the nutrients from many sources.

The prenatal vitamins might seem a bit large at first, but both you and your baby will need it. Make sure that you do take it with some food because it might make you nauseous otherwise.

I always took my prenatal vitamins in the morning with breakfast so that I would not forget.

Sunny27
Post 2

Crispety - Wow that sounds scary. I have to say that in order to have a healthy pregnancy it is important to exercise regularly.

Regular exercise not only makes you feel more comfortable, but it shortens your delivery as well. During my second pregnancy I was only in labor of two and a half hours.

I also recovered at lot faster because I was in good shape going in.

Crispety
Post 1

I wanted to add that I never missed a prenatal appointment. Prenatal care during pregnancy is so important because a mother could develop a condition that may be hazardous to the baby and without prenatal care a doctor cannot help the mother or the fetus.

This is why the mother’s blood pressure is taken at every appointment because elevated blood pressure could show signs of preeclampsia.

This is a condition in which the mother develops very high blood pressure and starts to retain fluid as well.

My sister had this condition and it was terrible. She had to be hospitalized for a week and had to have a C section in order to save her baby.

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