Antenatal or prenatal care is care offered throughout the course of your pregnancy. When you test positive for pregnancy, you should consult with your doctor. Your first antenatal visit will include a review of your health, previous health issues or complications, and family history of genetic diseases. Your doctor will question you about issues such as previous pregnancies and miscarriages.
You will have a physical examination and a battery of tests to determine your complete health and identify any problems. Blood tests are usually ordered to rule out any deficiencies, disorders or infections. You may be screened for health problems, if you have a high risk of developing certain diseases that could affect your pregnancy. Based on these results, your doctor will instruct you on medication and other ways to manage any health problems safely, without harming your growing baby.
Throughout your pregnancy, ultrasound scanning will be performed to monitor your baby’s development (heartbeat, growth and position in your womb) and detect any signs of problems at an early stage. Your blood pressure and overall health will also be monitored as your pregnancy progresses. Ensure that you eat a healthy balanced diet to sustain you and your growing baby. You will be prescribed vitamin supplements. You can discuss with your doctor about safe exercises that you can follow to keep you healthy. Avoid alcohol, illicit drugs and smoking to protect the health of you and your baby.
Your prenatal visits will also prepare you for labour and care after delivery. You will be briefed about the different options of birthing (vaginal or caesarean), pain management (such as epidural or holistic methods) and breastfeeding.
Pregnancy brings about many changes in your body. These antenatal visits give you an opportunity to discuss any symptom or concern with respect to your pregnancy or any other issues concerning you. Your doctor will advise you on the best way to manage them so you can enjoy a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.