Pregnancy is a time of great changes to both the body and mind. For the new mother- to -be to make sense of everything going on inside of her, the initial checkups from the doctor can go a long way. This phase is what’s called prenatal care and it plays a very crucial role in keeping the mother and baby healthy throughout the pregnancy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get prenatal care.
Prenatal care should be started as soon as there is news of a confirmed pregnancy. But the ideal scenario would no doubt be a planned pregnancy with early care that begins at least three months prior to conceiving. This is called pre-pregnancy care or preconception planning and it puts you in a better position to safeguard the health of the future baby.
During the prenatal appointments the doctor monitors the baby’s development and do routine testing to help find and prevent possible problems or to catch genetic issues or birth defects early on. The checkups that will be a routine happening throughout the pregnancy will also be a good time to ask any questions or doubts to the doctor regarding the pregnancy or birth and also to learn ways to try and ease any discomfort the mother may be having owing to the bodily changes.
Though there is a typical prenatal care schedule, the frequency of prenatal care can also be scheduled based on how far along your pregnancy is and how high your risk is for complications. Pregnancies with certain risky complications like chances of preeclampsia or in those with gestational diabetes prenatal checkups will be more closely spaced. A fairly typical prenatal schedule can look like this though; every 4 or 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks, every 2 or 3 weeks for the 32nd-37th weeks, every week from the 37th week until delivery.
Prenatal care greatly helps to improve the health and wellness of the mother and the baby and will hopefully have positive effects in the long run and after birth. No matter how much you think you know, prenatal care is certainly not something that you can just choose not to have, as this can be quite detrimental to the entire period of pregnancy.
Let’s look at some of the major prenatal care benefits to both mother and baby;
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