Prenatal care

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1. Overview

Any woman who wants to give birth to a child must have her own health care as well as the child, and this includes prenatal care. To know how to care before pregnancy any expectant mother should seek medical advice.

Optimal health of women before pregnancy can prevent serious illnesses. Some pregnant women may experience complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, but even these conditions can be kept under control.

During prenatal visits, your doctor will calculate the approximate time of birth of the child and will recommend the following vaccinations for the child. The doctor will also perform a series of prenatal tests to ensure that the fetus is developing in a healthy way. These investigations may include:
- Amniocentesis (detects possible birth defects);
- Chorionic villus sampling (possible anomalies detected at birth);
- Blood glucose analysis;
- Screening for cystic fibrosis carriers.


1. Overview
2. Prenatal care program
3. Why is prenatal care so necessary?
4. Prenatal care
5. Protection measures during pregnancy
6. Permitted and prohibited foods during pregnancy
7. Lifestyle
8. Other protective measures
9. The importance of folic acid administration
10. How common are doctor visits during pregnancy?
11. What happens during prenatal consultation?
12. Pregnancy after the age of 30

2. Prenatal care program

A typical prenatal care schedule includes these types of investigations:

- First quarter. Usually the first consultation at a gynecologist will take place as soon as pregnancy test will be positive. Prenatal care provides typical visit to the doctor every four weeks. There are doctors who schedule their patients a month and a half or two. This can cause anxiety and concern for the mother who should communicate these concerns and ask for more often visits to her doctor, and if necessary, expectant mother can even change the doctor who follows her pregnancy.

Pregnant women should consult their obstetrician if they have health problems such as bleeding or contractions. In this case, visits may range from daily to weekly as needed.

- The second trimester. From 13 to 26 weeks, prenatal visits will take place in four weeks, if not involved other health problems. Among the usual tests to be recommended by the doctor in the second quarter include:

- amniocentesis
- ultrasound
- alpha-protein measurement (within the triple test, quad screen, etc.).

- Third quarter. Usually, during the third trimester (after 27-28 weeks) the mother will visit the obstetrician doctor’s office a week or two. Around the week 36 the appointments will be weekly until the baby is born. If the pregnant woman suffers from various complications or she needs special care she can consult the doctor more often.

3. Why is prenatal care so necessary?

Prenatal care helps maintain an optimal state of health of both mother and baby. Babies born from mothers who received no prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight or even die, compared to those born from mothers who received prenatal care.

If the mothers will come to consultation regularly, the doctors can detect any health problems since their initial phase. This allows specialists to treat them in a timely manner. The doctor will inform the mother what to do to give her child a healthy start in life.

4. Prenatal care

Any woman who wants to become a mother will pay attention to his health before pregnancy test becomes positive. An important role has the knowledge and awareness of its health problems and risk factors that could affect both mother and baby.

For example, some habits or medications can affect the baby even before it is designed, and some health problems can adversely affect pregnancy. It is essential for any woman to talk to her doctor before becoming pregnant to find out what she can do in order to prepare the body for the nine months of pregnancy.

Ideally, care should begin three months before the mother to know that she is pregnant. Among the most important things a woman can do before becoming pregnant are:
- to use daily 400-800 micrograms (or 0.4-0.8 mg) of folic acid at least three months before becoming pregnant to reduce the risk of certain birth defects of the brain and spine that occur in the early stages of pregnancy before the pregnancy test to be positive;
- To quit smoking and drinking;
- To keep under control any medical conditions;
- Talk to her doctor about the use of any drugs without a prescription, whether it is food or herbal supplements. It is not recommended taking some medicines of this type during pregnancy;
- Avoid contact with toxic or harmful substances or materials (chemicals, cat or rodent excrements) from work or home.

5. Protection measures during pregnancy

To have an optimal health, the mother should:

- Go to prenatal visits early and consistently since, if there are any health problems, the doctor will detect and begin treatment quickly.

- Use daily multivitamin or prenatal vitamin that will contain between 400-800 micrograms, both before and during pregnancy.

- Seek medical advice before stop taking any medication or start using new drugs. Some medications are not recommended during pregnancy (including prescription-free medications or herbal medications).

- Avoid exposure to x-ray. Still, if the pregnant women want to complete dental work or have to make various diagnostic tests will tell the doctor that she is pregnant, so he will take precaution.

- Influenza vaccine. Influenza can occur quite virulent and vaccine in pregnant women may avoid hospitalization.

6. Permitted and prohibited foods during pregnancy

Pregnant women should eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, foods high in calcium and low in saturated fat.

Also, drink plenty of fluids, especially water and will try to assimilate all the nutrients that she needs by eating – especially iron (in order to avoid iron deficiency anemia). BY following a varied diet the mother will provide the necessary nutrients for her child to grow healthy.

Will ask the doctor about the use of prenatal vitamins or iron supplements. To protect the child from diseases (toxoplasmosis, listeria) that may arise from the consumption of certain foods, the mother should wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them and will cook meat properly. Avoid fish with high mercury content. Foods that will not be immediately consumed will be stored properly in the refrigerator.

7. Lifestyle

The mother should not gain very much weight during pregnancy: the doctor will provide information including in this direction. Pregnant women must avoid smoking, alcohol or drug use, which may affect long-term child or even lead to his death. If the woman cannot give up some vices, she should require medical attention.

Except the situations when the doctor will prohibit this, pregnant women will exercise weekly between 30 minutes and 2 hours; moderate aerobic activity is the most indicated in these cases, but, however, the intensity and type of exercise will be analyzed together with the doctor.

Avoid hot baths and saunas. It is important that the mother to rest enough and to find ways to control stress. Also, seek medical advice about prenatal classes where will assist of both the pregnant woman and her partner.

8. Other protective measures

Pregnant women must avoid contact with chemicals (insecticides, solvents, lead, mercury, paints). If she is not sure that a product can be used safely or whether certain substances at work cause concerns, the future mother will ask her doctor before using them.

People who have cats should avoid contact with the excrements of these animals to avoid becoming infected with toxoplasmosis, but also wear gloves while gardening. Pregnant women will avoid contact with rodent or bird excrements. Rodents can carry harmful or even fatal viruses to the unborn child. It is also very important to take extra hygiene measures such as frequent hand washing.

9. The importance of folic acid administration

Congenital malformations of the brain and spine occur in the early stages of pregnancy, before a woman knows she is pregnant. When the woman finds out that she will be mother it may be too late to prevent these birth defects. Therefore, all women who want to conceive sooner or later, must use between 400-800 mcg of folic acid every day.

10. How common are doctor visits during pregnancy?

The doctor will advise each patient, depending on his health, when to return to consulting. Most experts suggest that pregnant women should consult their physician as follows:
- Once a month between weeks 4 and 28;
- Twice a month between week 28 and 36;
- Once a week between week 36 and birth.

After week 36 of pregnancy or if pregnancy has problems, the doctor will probably be visited more often.

11. What happens during prenatal consultation?

During prenatal consultation, the doctor may ask the patient about:
- Her medical history, including illnesses, surgery or previous pregnancies;
- Family medical history.

The specialist will do a complete physical examination, including a pelvic exam and Pap test, will take blood tests that will be sent to the laboratory along with a urine sample for investigation. The doctor will note the pregnant woman’s height and weight values and will measure blood pressure. The obstetrician will offer information about the approximate date of birth of the child.

At the first visit, a pregnant woman should seek expert answers to various questions and discuss with him any issues related to pregnancy, but also try to find out how she can maintain her and her child’s health during pregnancy.

Later, the prenatal visits will probably be shorter. The doctor will make sure that the overall health of the mother is good and that the fetus develops according to his gestational age. Most prenatal visits will include:
- Checking blood pressure;
- Measuring the number of kilograms;
- Measurement of mother’s abdominal circumference;
- Measuring the baby’s heartbeat.

During pregnancy the mother will pass through some routine tests like: blood tests for anemia, blood group, HIV and other factors. Depending on maternal age, personal history, family history, but also ethnic history or routine test results the doctor may recommend other tests.

12. Pregnancy after the age of 30

As she age, a woman’s chances of having a baby with birth defects increase. However, most women who are over 30 or even 40 years deliver healthy babies. Women who fall into this category should consult the doctor regularly, even before getting pregnant.

The specialist will be able to inform the mother about how age might affect pregnancy. During pregnancy, medical advice is very important. Because of age, the doctor may recommend further investigations to verify the health of the child. Many women wait until after 30 or even 40 years to get pregnant.

Although many of these remain pregnant without difficulties, fertility decreases with age. Women who cannot become pregnant after six months of unprotected sex during ovulation should consult the doctor for fertility evaluation. If a woman has had several miscarriages, she may suffer from infertility.

Any female person who believes she or her partner may suffer from infertility should discuss this with her doctor, you can also go to treatment in Spain (where there are renowned clinics for infertility treatments). Thanks to the latest technologies, even infertile couples can have healthy children.



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