What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is the health care you get while you’re pregnant. It is important to seek prenatal care as soon as you know you’re pregnant. It is also crucial to continue receiving regular care while pregnant and keep the appointments recommended by your doctor.
Why Is Prenatal Care Important?
Prenatal care is essential for both mother and baby. In fact, babies of mothers who don’t receive prenatal care have a three times higher likelihood of having a low birth weight and five times higher risk of death. The reason for this is because doctors can identify problems with the mother, baby, or pregnancy early on when routine care is received.
Additionally, by getting early, regular prenatal care, your doctor can help you establish healthy habits for yourself and your baby. These habits may include taking prenatal vitamins, getting enough rest, and advice on what foods and medications you can and cannot take while pregnant, to name a few. Activities you partake in while pregnant can have lifelong effects on your child, so maintaining a healthy pregnancy is vital. Your doctor will be one of your best resources throughout your pregnancy.
How Often Should I See My Doctor During Pregnancy?
This varies from one pregnancy to another. Even for women who have been pregnant before, the doctor may recommend more or less frequent appointments than before. Generally speaking, most experts suggest you visit your doctor about once per month from weeks 4 through 27, twice per month during weeks 28 through 35, and weekly from weeks 36 through birth. If you are over 35 or have a high-risk pregnancy, you will probably see your doctor more frequently.
What Can I Expect During Prenatal Visits?
Your first prenatal visit will probably be one of the longer appointments because your doctor will need to discuss your health history, family medical history, take a blood and urine sample for lab work, and perform a complete physical exam. At this first appointment, your doctor will also calculate your due date and answer any questions you have about your pregnancy or health.
Most subsequent visits will be shorter, and usually include the following:
- Checking blood pressure
- Measuring weight
- Measuring abdomen
- Checking the baby’s heart rate
- Occasional sonograms
During your prenatal appointments, we will check to ensure that the baby is growing properly and that you are not developing dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure, high sugar levels, anemia, and others.
At specific points during your pregnancy, your doctor may also request routine blood tests to establish a baseline with which to compare later tests. These can include tests for anemia, blood type, and HIV. Depending on your medical history and family medical history, other tests may be recommended as well.
If you are pregnant or think you might be, Compassionate Care for Women is here to help you maintain a healthy pregnancy! Give us a call today at (702) 471-0051 for an appointment in Las Vegas or (775) 537-1010 for our Pahrump office.