What is Prenatal Care?

Posted by | March 31, 2019 | Pregnancy Health | No Comments

Synopsis: This post/article explains what people mean when they refer to prenatal care.

Prenatal care is preventive care recommended for women while they are pregnant. It is the best thing you can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Some women even choose to schedule a preconception visit to their health care professional when they are considering having a child. So what is prenatal care?  Prenatal care involves regularly scheduled check-ups and prenatal testing, which allow doctors or midwives to treat and prevent potential health problems during pregnancy. It also helps by providing guidance and promoting a healthy lifestyle to benefit both mother and baby.

How often should I see my doctor?

Prenatal care helps to keep you and your developing fetus healthy and sets the stage for a healthy life for your newborn–provided you go early and often. You should see your health care provider, family doctor, obstetrician, gynecologist or midwife more often as your due date approaches. A typical prenatal schedule of appointments may look like this:

  • One visit per month in weeks 4 – 28
  • Two monthly visits for weeks 28 – 36
  • Once weekly visits for weeks 36 to baby’s birth

Pregnant women over 35 years, very young women or those considered higher risk due to other health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, will see their doctor more often.

Why is prenatal care important?

Prenatal care helps ensure that any problems with your health or baby’s are prevented or treated immediately. Early care also provides emotional support for the pregnant woman and reduces stress by keeping the expectant mother informed about her health and that of her developing baby.

“Babies born to mothers who receive no prenatal care are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight and five times more likely to die, than those whose mothers received prenatal care,” according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

What does prenatal care entail?

During the first prenatal visit, your medical provider will perform a full physical exam, take blood for lab screenings and diagnostic tests and calculate your baby’s due date. Your doctor may also do breast and pelvic examinations (of your uterus and cervix), along with a Pap test. Your medical team will ask questions about your lifestyle, relationships and health habits, and provide guidance.

Your next few prenatal visits will include:

  • Monitoring your blood pressure and weight.
  • Checking the baby’s heart rate.
  • Checking fetal growth by measuring your abdomen.
  • Testing  for anemia, gestational diabetes and infection.
  • Answering your questions about your pregnancy.
  • An ultrasound exam may be done at 18 to 20 weeks to check for proper growth, confirming fetal age and perhaps the sex of your baby.
  • At 28 weeks and beyond, you’ll be instructed on how to monitor your baby’s movement. If the baby is less active than normal, you should call your doctor.
  • Additional tests conducted during your pregnancy may include urine tests, additional ultrasounds and other tests depending upon your medical history and risk factors.

For valuable information about what to expect during each stage of pregnancy and personalized advice about having a healthy baby–become a member of BabyQ.com.

Sources: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/prenatal-care-tests.html

Dr. Mark Gostine

About Dr. Mark Gostine

A physician for more than 30 years. He is a proud father of four and a grandfather of two. The announcement of his daughter Emily’s first pregnancy and the joy of his first grandchild, were major turning points in his life. They became the inspiration for babyQ. From then on, he wanted to dedicate his clinical knowledge and energy to helping young women have healthier pregnancies and better babies. Voted one of the best 100 doctors in his field in America, Dr. Gostine is a practitioner of nutrition who creates health education modules for his patients. He, along with Dr. of my children,” he says. “My hope is that young mothers and fathers everywhere will give their children the best start because it is so much better to prevent disease early than treat it later.” Dr. Gostine, a native of Michigan, received his medical degree from Wayne State University College of Medicine in Detroit, and is Board Certified in both anesthesiology and pain management. He completed his undergraduate studies and his medical residency in anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, followed by a pain management fellowship at the Kansas City Consortium in Missouri. Currently President of Michigan Pain Consultants and Founder of ProCare Systems, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.