Did you know that 77% of mothers initiate prenatal care in the first trimester? Starting prenatal care is one of the most important things to do to keep both you and your baby healthy, so this statistic is good news!
Periodic checkups provide consistent care of the baby and mother, ensuring a successful and healthy delivery. Prenatal care can also prevent and treat complicating factors as soon as they come up. These visits also allow your doctor to answer any questions you might have and ease any potential discomfort.
In this article, we’ll be providing an overview of prenatal care and its benefits. So if you’re an expecting mother and you’re wondering if prenatal care is for you, read on!
What Is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is essentially periodic checkups from your doctor, nurse, or midwife. It’s best to start prenatal care as early as possible. If you’re expecting a pregnancy, you should start prenatal care before conception.
Depending on the pregnancy and trimester, you might be seeing your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), who specializes in pregnancy and delivery. You could also go through your primary care doctor for your prenatal care.
If you don’t have any complicating factors, your appointments will be conducted by a certified nurse or a midwife. A midwife is a medical professional certified to care for women with low-risk pregnancies.
The purpose of these visits is to provide routine testing for any possible problems and keep both you and the baby healthy. Your doctor or nurse will also check the baby’s growth and development.
First Trimester Care
In your first trimester, the doctor will review your medical history. This means asking about your menstrual cycle, STDs, past pregnancies, and any medications or supplements you are taking.
They will also perform an exam and blood test, for a comprehensive health screening. The exam will probably include a pelvic exam and Pap test, and the doctor will check your height and weight.
Through these tests, the doctor will determine if you will need special care during your pregnancy.
Your doctor will also help you learn more about prenatal supplements. Prenatal vitamins prevent low birth weight and support the development of the bones, brain, and spine. They will also help reduce your nausea, vomiting, and bloating.
Second Trimester Care
Care in the second trimester will involve tracking the baby’s growth and listening to the heartbeat. The doctor will also perform a blood test for genetic or chromosomal conditions.
Your doctor will also check your iron levels, and run a test for gestational diabetes.
During this time, you’ll begin to see ultrasound images of your baby and the doctor can determine the sex.
Third Trimester Care
In the third trimester, your doctor will check your baby’s weight gain, and monitor the heartbeat. They will check for any contractions and bleeding.
It’s during this time that the doctor will check the baby’s positioning, and plan for birth. If the baby is positioned incorrectly, you might have to plan for a C-section. If the baby can be delivered naturally, the doctor will ease your nerves and provide a game plan for delivery.
Start a Healthy Family
Now that you know some of the benefits of prenatal care, hopefully, you won’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible! Prenatal care is an essential part of delivering a healthy baby and growing your family in a healthy way.
To read more lifestyle and health tips, check out our blog for more advice!