Pregnancy is a life altering experience for women and the best way to approach pregnancy would be to stay well-informed about various facets of it.
Pregnancy is a time of great change. From the onset, it induces many changes in the woman's body which can be very frightening to women. It also alters the lifestyle and behavior of the mother to be. By being informed about the changes and problems occurring in pregnancy women can be better prepared to face pregnancy. This resource is designed to provide a basic understanding of routine antenatal care.
Pregnancy is not disease, it is a natural process. But complications do occur in some women. In the underdeveloped countries many women die due to lack of antenatal care. Therefore women who are pregnant should see a doctor as soon as they see two lines on the pregnancy kit. Antenatal care consists of two arms: regular health care visits and education about childbirth.
Antenatal Health Care Visits
These visits must commence immediately with the diagnosis of pregnancy. These visits allow the doctor to monitor the mother to be and the baby for any illness. The growth and development of the baby is also assessed during these visits.
The first antenatal visit is usually longer than the others and during this visit a detailed history is taken from the mother to be. During this visit one can expect a general physical exam, some lab tests, calculation of due date and a timetable for antenatal care. One can also schedule any childbirth education classes during this time, but this is better done in the later pregnancy. This visit is also a good time to discuss expectations and concerns that women may have with their doctor.
A detailed history is mandatory for good antenatal care. It is therefore necessary for women to give as much information as possible to their health care provider. The common questions asked during the first visit are mentioned below. Women would be advised to go over these questions before the first visit.
繚 When was the last menstrual period?
繚 Are your periods regular? If yes what is the cycle length and how long does the period last?
繚 Do you suffer from excessive swelling of the feet or puffiness of face?
繚 Any other symptoms one would like to make a mention of?
繚 History about prior pregnancies including abortions, both spontaneous and induced. Any complications in these pregnancy should be mentioned to the health care provider.
繚 History of twins, genetic defects in family
繚 History of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cardiac disease, seizures or any other medical surgical condition in the mother to be.
Accurate answers to the above questions will enable the doctor to tailor a management plan that is appropriate to each woman.