Finding out about your pregnancy is exciting news, which is often followed by various questions about what to do, what to expect, and how to give the best care to your baby. Choosing the best obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) for you is an important step. Seeking antenatal care early in pregnancy is the key to a healthy pregnancy for both the mother and her baby. Here are certain things you need to keep in mind and prioritize while choosing the best doctor for your pregnancy.
1. You need the best prenatal care
Prenatal care is the healthcare a female receives in pregnancy. Regular prenatal care throughout the pregnancy helps to detect any potential concerns early and reduces the risk of complications in pregnancy and in the baby’s growth and development.
A female should schedule her first prenatal appointment when she is about 8 weeks pregnant. For pregnancies, without complications, a female is suggested to visit her doctor-
- Till week 28 of pregnancy: 1 prenatal visit in a month
- From week 28 to 36 of pregnancy: 1 prenatal visit in every 2 weeks
- From week 36 to 40 of pregnancy: 1 prenatal visit in every week
A doctor will suggest you visit for prenatal appointments more often if you had any preexisting health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure before you got pregnant, if you are above the age of 35, or if any complications or problems develop during your pregnancy.
2. Regular pregnancy Ultrasounds
Ultrasounds are used during pregnancy to monitor the baby’s development and to help detect any abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. Ultrasound may be suggested to the female at various stages during pregnancy, including:
- First trimester – Ultrasound performed in the first 3 months of pregnancy is used to check the embryo’s development inside the womb (to rule out ectopic pregnancy), confirm the number of embryos (single baby, twins or multiples), and calculate the gestational age and the baby’s expected due date.
- Second trimester – Ultrasounds performed between weeks18 and 20 of pregnancy are used to check the development of fetal structures like the spine, limbs, brain, internal organs, and the size and location of the placenta.
- Third trimester – Ultrasounds performed after 30 weeks of pregnancy are used to check that the baby’s normal growth rate. The doctor may also check the placenta’s location to make sure it isn’t blocking the cervix.
3. Supplements, diet, and nutrition during pregnancy
It is always important to eat a balanced diet during pregnancy because whatever you eat is the main source of nutrients for the baby. However, many females do not get enough iron (or may have anemia in pregnancy and thus need extra iron), folate, calcium, vitamin D, or protein. So when you get pregnant, it is important for you to gradually increase the amounts of foods and nutrient intake as needed in your pregnancy. Most females can meet their increased needs with a healthy diet which includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins. A female should also consult a doctor for dosage on daily folic acid during pregnancy, which are very important throughout the pregnancy.
4. Vaginal Delivery
In a vaginal birth, the baby is born through the vagina, the birth canal. It is hard to know when exactly a female will go into labor, but most females give birth at around 38 to 41 weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnant females are suggested to plan for vaginal birth unless there is a medical reason for cesarean delivery. Benefits of having a natural birth with vaginal delivery include-
- Lower risk of infections
- Quicker recovery
- Shorter hospital stay after childbirth
- Babies born by vaginal delivery have a lower risk of respiratory problems
5. Cesarean Section (C-Section) or Scheduled C-section
C-section delivery or cesarean is the delivery of the baby through an incision made in the female’s abdomen and uterus. In certain cases, such as for a complicated pregnancy, a C-section is scheduled in advance with the doctor and hospital. An emergency c-section may be done in response to unforeseen complications at the time of delivery.
A c-section is done in the following cases-
- High risk pregnancy
- Multiple babies (twins, triplets, or so)
- If the baby is very large (making it difficult for vaginal delivery)
- If the baby is in breech or transverse position
- Placenta previa
- Fibroids or other large obstruction
Depending on the reason for the scheduled C-section, the female may have several weeks in advance to prepare accordingly.
Prenatal care is very important for the female and the baby. Generally, a female is advised to make her first appointment with an OB-GYN as soon as she finds out she is pregnant. Even if you are already a few weeks into your pregnancy, it is not too late to seek care from the best OB-GYN. Schedule a visit or consult the best doctors for your pregnancy.
Babies of females who do not get prenatal care are 3 times more likely to have a low birth weight and higher birth complications. Seeing your OB-GYN regularly helps ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.