Prenatal care consists of regular visits to OB-GYN to monitor the growth, condition, and behavior of the unborn baby. Prenatal visits also allow for early detection of any health-related complications or issues that may hurt the pregnant female. The goal of prenatal or antenatal visits is to ensure the female and the baby remains safe during and immediately after pregnancy.
After getting pregnant, it is recommended the pregnant female visits the best OB-GYN for regular prenatal visits. If a female is planning to get pregnant, she should visit an OB-GYN to prepare for the pregnancy in the best way. The first prenatal visit covers the female’s medical history, how she is feeling in her pregnancy, some basic information like her weight and blood pressure. The doctor may also do a physical exam including a pelvic exam to monitor the size and shape of the uterus (womb) and a Pap smear test to check for any abnormalities in the cervix.
The doctor will do a urine and blood test during the first prenatal. Future prenatal visits include tests to inspect for diabetes of pregnancy, anemia and other serious health conditions that may complicate the pregnancy. Some females may also be suggested to get urine tests at each visit to check for sugar and protein levels in the urine.
Without prenatal visits, the infant is at a risk for multiple complications including preterm birth (birth of the baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy), which is one of the major causes of infant death. Also, babies born too early before the due date are more susceptible to chronic illnesses which affect the lungs, heart, brain, and immune system.
In the United States alone, 1 in 10 infants are born prematurely Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of preterm birth. This factor is one of many reasons why prenatal care is so important. With regular checkups, the doctor can keep an eye and monitor any harmful developments which may be harmful for the female and the infant.
Prenatal care is important to stay healthy during pregnancy. The doctor and nurse will monitor the baby’s development and perform routine tests to help find and prevent any possible complications or problems. These regular prenatal checkups can help the female learn to take best care of herself and her baby during pregnancy and steps to ease any discomfort during pregnancy.
Reduced risk of complications during pregnancy, labor or delivery
Reduced risk of birth defects
Regular tests, ultrasounds and diagnosis during pregnancy
Proper nutritional information
A female can start getting prenatal care as soon as she finds out that she is pregnant. It is actually best to see an expert OB-GYN before a female gets pregnant. This is called preconception planning or pre-pregnancy care. But if that is not possible, a female should begin her prenatal visits as soon as she can.
How often the female goes for prenatal visits depends on how far along her pregnancy is. A female’s medical history and health condition can also determine the number of prenatal visits she needs. Females with high risk pregnancy may need more prenatal visits and regular care. Typical prenatal care schedule for a female who is between the age of 18 to 35 years old and healthy is-
Visit to doctor every 4 - 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks of pregnancy
Visit to doctor every 2 or 3 weeks for the 32nd-37th weeks of pregnancy
Visit to doctor every week from the 37th week until delivery of the baby
The doctor might ask the female to visit for antenatal check-ups more often if she has a high-risk pregnancy.
Most females have a normal pregnancy without any complications. However, some pregnant females might experience complications which can involve their health or the baby’s health. Sometimes, various diseases or conditions the female has before pregnancy can lead to complications in pregnancy. Some complications may also occur during delivery.
Most of such complications which occur during pregnancy and at the time of delivery can be prevented and detected early with prenatal visits. Early detection with prenatal care can reduce further risks to the female and the baby.
Common complications that occur during pregnancy include-
high blood pressure
loss of pregnancy, or miscarriage
Early detection of such complications can prevent any risks or harms to the baby and the female. With regular prenatal visits, the doctor can detect and control these complications and prevent any harm to the pregnancy.