If you’re pregnant, then the health of your baby is probably of great importance to you. Pregnancy is an exciting journey, but it can also be very difficult for many women. Getting the right prenatal care before your baby is born can be beneficial to both you and your baby.
What Does “Prenatal Care” Mean?
Prenatal care is the care that you receive from medical professionals before your baby is born. Pregnant women should access prenatal care throughout their pregnancy to monitor the developing baby. Accessing prenatal care is of great importance, with statistics around low birth weight and infant death risk supporting this (1).
What to Expect From Prenatal Care
During prenatal appointments, the mother will be assessed by medical professionals to highlight any areas for concern. Assessments usually include checking urine samples, weight and blood pressure. They are also given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or issues they are experiencing. These appointments mean that there is a greater chance of any areas of concern being addressed as soon as possible.
Prenatal care also involves the mother attending other checks such as ultrasounds. Some healthcare providers also perform blood tests on the mother to ensure she is not deficient in any crucial vitamins or minerals. A blood test may discover that the mother is deficient in iron for example and highlight the need for her to take iron supplements.
Health checks and monitoring aren’t the only beneficial part of prenatal care. The information given to mothers by medical professionals during appointments can be invaluable. Pregnancy is a very complex process and if you’re new to it, there’s probably a lot that you don’t know about. Appointments with experienced professionals can provide valuable information that can lead to a happier and healthier mother and a healthier baby.
Prenatal Nutrition and Health Risks
Many people are unaware of the importance of prenatal nutrition. Folic acid, for example, is a key vitamin that is needed during pregnancy. Ensuring you are getting enough folic acid each day can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by around 70% (2). This is just one key vitamin that pregnant women need to reduce health effects on their babies. Nutrition and health risks are covered in great detail during prenatal appointments. The medical professionals that you’ll see will ensure you understand what you need to be eating and discuss supplements that you should take.
Medication can also be something that can have a huge effect on your baby. If you are taking any medication, then prenatal appointments will give you the opportunity to discuss whether these are harmful to your baby. Even some herbal remedies have been linked to fetal harm, so it’s important to get professional advice regarding medication of all kinds.
Prenatal care is especially important if your pregnancy is “high-risk”. Risk factors can include mothers that are over the age of 35 or under the age of 18, if the mother is very overweight or underweight and whether they have had issues in previous pregnancies. Pregnancies with multiple babies, such as twins or triplets are also considered “high risk”. Women that meet these risk factors should take advantage of prenatal care as much as possible to monitor the health of their babies.
Schedule your prenatal appointment today.