Prenatal care, sometimes referred to as antenatal care, is a type of preventative healthcare with the singular goal of treating or preventing health problems during the course of pregnancy within both the mother and the child. The healthcare has the added benefit of promoting a healthy lifestyle for the mother and child, too. Sitting through prenatal care is extremely important for all those involved to reduce health risks that stem from pregnancy, such as preterm birth, complications from diabetes, the poor growth of the baby, or anemia, to name just a few potential side effects that come from birthing a child.
When You Should Begin Prenatal Care
To start, if you didn’t meet with a healthcare provider before becoming pregnant, your very first prenatal healthcare visit should be around the eight week mark, after your final menstrual period has occurred. Most women will, and should, schedule their very first prenatal session upon learning of their pregnancy.
After the first visit, pregnant women should return to the doctor once per month during weeks 4 to 28, then every two weeks during weeks 28 to 36, and finally 1 visit per week during weeks 36 to 40.
What to Expect
During your first visit, the mother should expect their chosen doctor to ask a variety of medical history questions, including…
- Medical/psychosocial problems
- Blood pressure
- Breast exams
- Cervical exams
- Current medications
While not a comprehensive list of everything included in the visit, this should give expectant mothers an idea of what to expect.
Some Questions to Ask
As an expectant mother, you should begin asking questions almost immediately. To start, ask for a nurse line should you have any questions. Second, ask what the doctor would consider as an emergency. Lastly, ask when the next scheduled visit will be.
For further information or to ask your own questions, call 309-210-0110.