The Importance Of Antenatal Care
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Antenatal care, sometimes also called prenatal care, refers to the check-ups pregnant women attend to throughout the course of their pregnancy. Antenatal care is about more than just checking your weight and growing tummy. It’s important to understand the basics here.
What is the aim of antenatal care?
Antenatal care aims to inform pregnant women about pregnancy, childbirth and infant feeding so that women can follow clinical guidelines and keep themselves and their baby healthy from the early stages right through to birth. Antenatal care also allows for a healthcare professional to monitor the growth of the developing fetus and screen for birth defects and pregnancy-related complications.
How often do I need to go to antenatal check-ups?
Most women will need to attend a several antenatal appointments throughout their pregnancy. Antenatal care begins when you find out you are pregnant and ends at birth. During this time, your antenatal healthcare professionals will advise you on the frequency of your visits. Women who are at high risk for complications during pregnancy will need more frequent check-ups.
Important information to acquire from antenatal care
Antenatal care is seen as a holistic health effort, and affords you the opportunity to discuss any aspect of your health and pregnancy with an experienced expert. Nutrition and vitamin supplementation needs to be discussed, along with advice on exercise. Your mood and mental state can also be assessed and discussed, with the aim of screening for depression and anxiety.
You may also use your antenatal appointments to formulate a birthing plan and to make decisions about baby feeding. Women with a high risk of pregnancy-related complications or birth defects may use their antenatal consultations to understand more about a specific condition and how to prevent or manage it. There is no topic that is out of bounds or inappropriate during an antenatal care appointment, and even if your concern is unrelated to your pregnancy, your attending team will be able to refer you to the relevant expert who can help.
The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.