As exciting as it is, pregnancy also causes immense anxiety among women. Regular visits to the hospital for antenatal check-ups is an important routine for all pregnant women for ensure their health as well as baby monitoring. Antenatal visits are a must even if there are no complications in the pregnancy and the woman feels well.
Apart from ensuring that the baby’s growth is taking place at a normal rate and the woman’s body is in good health, antenatal visits are a time to discuss any concerns one may have regarding different aspects of pregnancy like body changes, how and when to feed the baby, birthing plan, etc.
Antenatal Visiting Schedule
It is best to get started once a woman finds out she is pregnant. At the first antenatal visit, the doctor conducts few tests and scans to confirm pregnancy and discuss the various aspects of care needed throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy lasts around 38-42 weeks, during which a woman undergoes antenatal check-ups every four weeks; the frequency of the visits increases as she approaches the due date. In case the doctor identifies any risks or complications in the mother or her child, there may be more frequent check ups to monitor the progress of pregnancy.
A typical visit involves a physical examination, along with blood pressure and weight check up. Blood tests, urine tests and ultrasound are conducted at different stages of pregnancy.
Regular antenatal care allows the following:
Reduced pregnancy complications
As part of antenatal care, the health care provider can guide a woman with a healthy diet and exercise plan that is safe for the baby. Pregnant women can be informed about foods to avoid during pregnancy and exercises that may cause harm to the baby. They can also ensure that they are not exposed to toxins present in environment. Laying stress on antenatal visits, an experienced Gynecologist in Mumbai said,
Antenatal care is especially beneficial for pregnant women who have any existing, chronic condition like diabetes or blood pressure. Management of medical conditions is critical in avoiding certain complications like pre-eclampsia.
Reduced risk of complications in baby
As part of their antenatal care, women may be guided through with the right set of supplements needed for proper growth and development of the baby. For example, folic acid is an important vitamin required by the developing fetus in the early months of pregnancy. Doctors prescribe it to all pregnant women for the first 3 months of pregnancy to prevent defects in fetal nervous system development.
Ultrasounds conducted at specific stages of pregnancy look for any abnormality in the growing fetus. Further, antenatal visits are a good time to discuss any medication a woman may be on currently. As well as, find alternate prescription, as certain medications including herbal medicines, are not safe for the baby.
Understanding best ways to care for baby during and after pregnancy
For many women, especially those expecting for the first time, pregnancy can cause anxiety over the various dos and don’ts regarding the baby’s health. Regular antenatal visits can alleviate a pregnant woman’s concerns over various issues and help her prepare better for the arrival of her baby.
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